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  1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a virgin: virginal purity.
  2. continuing in a state of virginity.
  3. pure; unsullied; untouched: a virginal mountain stream.
  4. Zoology. not fertilized.

Origin of virginal1

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin virginālis, equivalent to virgin- virgin + -ālis -al1
Related formsvir·gin·al·ly, adverb


  1. Often virginals. a rectangular harpsichord with the strings stretched parallel to the keyboard, the earlier types placed on a table: popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Origin of virginal2

First recorded in 1520–30; apparently special use of virginal1
Related formsvir·gin·al·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for virginal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There are several explanations as to why the virginal was so called.

    How the Piano Came to Be

    Ellye Howell Glover

  • Queen Elizabeth's virginal is still preserved at Worcestershire.

    How the Piano Came to Be

    Ellye Howell Glover

  • She had a virginal shape, and liked her clothes to cling about her knees.

    Love and Lucy</p>

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • It was an exquisite morning, too virginal for June, too richly warm for May.

    The Flying Mercury

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • She stood gazing at the firelit faces, the virginal half-smile on her lips.

    The Crimson Tide

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for virginal


  1. of, relating to, characterized by, proper to, or maintaining a state of virginity; chaste
  2. extremely pure or fresh; untouched; undefiled
Derived Formsvirginally, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Latin virginālis maidenly, from virgō virgin


  1. (often plural) a smaller version of the harpsichord, but oblong in shape, having one manual and no pedals
Derived Formsvirginalist, noun

Word Origin

C16: probably from Latin virginālis virginal 1, perhaps because it was played largely by young ladies
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for virginal


early 15c., from Old French virginal or directly from Latin virginalis, from virgin (see virgin). The keyed musical instrument so called from 1520s, but the reason is obscure (see virginals).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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