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[vizh-oo-uh l] /ˈvɪʒ u əl/
of or relating to seeing or sight:
a visual image.
used in seeing:
the visual sense.
perceptible by the sense of sight; visible:
a visual beauty.
perceptible by the mind; of the nature of a mental vision:
a visual impression captured in a line of verse.
Usually, visuals.
  1. the picture elements, as distinguished from the sound elements, in films, television, etc.
  2. photographs, slides, films, charts, or other visual materials, especially as used for illustration or promotion.
    Compare audio, video.
a rough, preliminary sketch of an advertising layout, showing possible arrangements of material.
Compare comprehensive (def 5).
any item or element depending on the sense of sight.
Origin of visual
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Late Latin vīsuālis, equivalent to vīsu(s) sight (vid(ēre) to see + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > s) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
nonvisual, adjective
subvisual, adjective, noun
supervisual, adjective
supervisually, adverb
unvisual, adjective
unvisually, adverb
Can be confused
visible, visual. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for visual
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • visual concealment is unnecessary, because in the North Country a cache is sacred.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • It will be human, and, as you know, comedy is but a matter of the visual angle.

    Tales Of Hearsay Joseph Conrad
  • Flippancy, like comedy, is but a matter of visual first impression.

    Tales Of Hearsay Joseph Conrad
  • I can't tell you what it is, except that it's in the visual red.

    They Twinkled Like Jewels Philip Jos Farmer
  • This is, of course, the only logical method for the visual interpretation of sound.

    With The Eyes Shut Edward Bellamy
British Dictionary definitions for visual


/ˈvɪʒʊəl; -zjʊ-/
of, relating to, done by, or used in seeing: visual powers, visual steering
another word for optical
capable of being seen; visible
of, occurring as, or induced by a mental image
a sketch to show the proposed layout of an advertisement, as in a newspaper
(often pl) a photograph, film, or other display material
Derived Forms
visually, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin vīsuālis, from Latin vīsus sight, from vidēre to see
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
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Word Origin and History for visual

early 15c., "coming from the eye or sight" (as a beam of light), from Late Latin visualis "of sight," from Latin visus "sight," from visus, past participle of videre "to see" (see vision). Meaning "relating to vision" is first attested c.1600. The noun meaning "photographic film or other visual display" is first recorded 1951.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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visual in Medicine

visual vi·su·al (vĭzh'ōō-əl)

  1. Of or relating to the sense of sight.

  2. Seen or able to be seen by the eye; visible.

  3. Optical.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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