[vir-uhl or, esp. British, -ahyl]


of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a man; masculine; manly: virile strength.
having or exhibiting masculine energy, forcefulness, or strength in a marked degree.
characterized by a vigorous, masculine spirit: a virile literary style.
of, relating to, or capable of procreation.

Nearby words

  1. viricide,
  2. virid,
  3. viridescent,
  4. viridian,
  5. viridity,
  6. virilescence,
  7. virilism,
  8. virility,
  9. virilization,
  10. virilocal

Origin of virile

1480–90; < Latin virīlis manly, equivalent to vir man (akin to Old English wer man; see werewolf) + -īlis -ile

Related formsnon·vir·ile, adjectivesub·vir·ile, adjectiveul·tra·vir·ile, adjectiveun·vir·ile, adjective

Can be confusedviral virile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for virile

British Dictionary definitions for virile



of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an adult male
(of a male) possessing high sexual drive and capacity for sexual intercourse
of or capable of copulation or procreation
strong, forceful, or vigorous
Derived Formsvirility (vɪˈrɪlɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for virile

C15: from Latin virīlis manly, from vir a man; related to Old English wer man and probably to Latin vis strength

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 virile



late 15c., from Old French viril, from Latin virilis "of a man, manly," from vir "a man, a hero," from PIE *uiHro "freeman" (cf. Sanskrit virah, Avestan vira-, Lithuanian vyras, Lithuanian vyras, Old Irish fer, Welsh gwr, Gothic wair, Old English wer "man"). Virile member for "penis" is recorded from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for virile


[vîrəl, -īl′]


Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an adult male, especially the ability to perform sexually as a male.
Having or showing masculine spirit, strength, vigor, or power.
Sexually potent.

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