[vahy-ruh l]
  1. of, relating to, or caused by a virus.
  2. pertaining to or involving the spreading of information and opinions about a product or service from person to person, especially on the Internet or in emails: a clever viral ad.See also viral marketing.
  3. becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet: the most memorable viral videos; This book is already viral two weeks before its official publication date.
  4. pertaining to a computer virus.
  1. go viral, to spread rapidly via the Internet, email, or other media: Footage of the candidate's off-color remarks went viral within minutes.

Origin of viral

First recorded in 1935–40; vir(us) + -al1
Related formsan·ti·vi·ral, adjective
Can be confusedviral virile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for antiviral

Contemporary Examples of antiviral

Historical Examples of antiviral

  • It proved resistant to every one of the antibiotics and antiviral agents in the Lancet's stockroom.

    Star Surgeon

    Alan Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for antiviral


  1. inhibiting the growth of viruses
  1. any antiviral drug: used to treat diseases caused by viruses, such as herpes infections and AIDS


  1. of, relating to, or caused by a virus
  2. (of a video, image, story, etc) spread quickly and widely among internet users via social networking sites, e-mail, etc
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 antiviral



"of the nature of, or caused by, a virus," 1948, see virus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

antiviral in Medicine


[ăn′tē-vīrəl, ăn′tī-]
  1. Destroying or inhibiting the growth and reproduction of viruses.
Related formsan′ti•viral n.


  1. Of, relating to, or caused by a virus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.