- actively poisonous; intensely noxious: a virulent insect bite.
- Medicine/Medical. highly infective; malignant or deadly.
- Bacteriology. causing clinical symptoms.
- violently or spitefully hostile.
- intensely bitter, spiteful, or malicious: a virulent attack.
Origin of virulent
Synonyms for virulent
Antonyms for virulent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (of a microorganism) extremely infective
- (of a disease) having a rapid course and violent effect
- extremely poisonous, injurious, etc
- extremely bitter, hostile, etc
Word Origin for virulent
C14: from Latin vīrulentus full of poison, from vīrus poison; see virus
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
c.1400, in reference to wounds, ulcers, etc., "full of corrupt or poisonous matter," from Latin virulentus "poisonous," from virus "poison" (see virus). Figurative sense of "violent, spiteful" is attested from c.1600. Related: Virulently.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Extremely infectious, malignant, or poisonous. Used of a disease or toxin.
- Capable of causing disease by breaking down protective mechanisms of the host. Used of a pathogen.
- Intensely irritating, obnoxious, or harsh.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.