- noting an image formed by the apparent convergence of rays geometrically, but not actually, prolonged, as the image formed by a mirror (opposed to real).
- noting a focus of a system forming virtual images.
Origin of virtual
OTHER WORDS FROM virtualvir·tu·al·i·ty [vur-choo-al-i-tee], /ˌvɜr tʃuˈæl ɪ ti/, noun
Words nearby virtual
What does virtual mean?
Virtual is most generally used to describe something as being the same as something else in almost every way, except perhaps in name or some other minor, technical sense.
For example, describing a company as a virtual monopoly means it’s pretty much a monopoly but not technically one, perhaps because it has a few minor competitors.
Virtual also commonly means simulated or extended by computer software. The word is used this way in virtual reality, which refers to a fully simulated environment. Some things described as virtual may not be quite as immersive as virtual reality, such as a virtual museum tour that you can navigate on a website.
Sometimes, things described as virtual may not involve simulation at all, such as a virtual meeting or a virtual concert. The use of virtual in these phrases represents a more recent sense of the word that means something like “remote and via the internet” (especially when accessed via a live video feed).
The adverb form virtually can be used in the same way, as in I can’t make it into the office, but I’ll be working virtually.
Virtually is perhaps most commonly used in a more general way to mean in effect though not in fact, as in Today, virtually all cell phones are smartphones. Close synonyms are nearly, practically, and just about—they all mean virtually the same thing.
Example: The virtual convention will feature real speeches from virtually every VR expert in the industry.
Where does virtual come from?
The first records of the word virtual come from around 1400. It comes from the Medieval Latin virtuālis, meaning “effective” (in the sense of having the effect of something without the form or appearance of it).
The various senses of virtual are quite different, but they all involve something that’s not quite the real thing. Most generally, virtual is used to describe things as almost identical to but not exactly something else. The adverb virtually is perhaps most commonly used to describe things in this way.
The more specific use of virtual often involves computer simulations, as in virtual reality and virtual rendering. More recently, virtual has come to be used to describe things that aren’t simulations but real things that can be experienced in a remote location in some way, often via a live video feed.
This is how virtual is most commonly used in the term virtual school, which refers to an educational program that takes place in a virtual environment. Though it usually takes place on a computer screen, virtual school can take different forms. It may consist of a conventional classroom scenario simply moved online in the form of a live, two-way video stream in which a teacher and their students can interact in real time. It can also consist of a less interactive model, in which students can access educational materials through a computer interface, often with occasional communication with an instructor. Or it can be a blend of these approaches. Virtual school can also refer to a specific school that provides instruction using such programs, as in My daughter attends a virtual school.
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What are some other forms related to virtual?
What are some words that share a root or word element with virtual?
What are some words that often get used in discussing virtual?
How is virtual used in real life?
Virtual can be used in several ways, but all of them describe something that’s not quite the real thing.
16 December 1653. Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector (a virtual dictator) of England, Scotland and Ireland.
— Prof. Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) December 16, 2013
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) August 23, 2020
Nothing like getting your virtual receipt for the virtual album you bought with your virtual money.
— Rob Thomas (@RobotThomas) January 9, 2019
will never get over the fact that every adult human I know finds zoom work meetings utterly exhausting, yet many districts are forcing kids (regardless of age or need) to do that ALL DAY LONG in virtual school (webcams on, or you're marked absent)
— Nicole Chung (@nicolesjchung) August 27, 2020
Try using virtual!
Is virtual used correctly in the following sentence?
I find that virtual concerts don’t have the same energy as a show with a live audience.
How to use virtual in a sentence
Biden’s schedule on Thursday also includes a call with Senate Democrats and a virtual Rosh Hashanah event.Election live updates: Trump returns to Wisconsin; Biden to face live audience at town hall|Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner|September 17, 2020|Washington Post
When Alchemist Accelerator shifted its Demo Day to virtual earlier this year, Alchemist director and founder Ravi Belani told me it was a move he expected the team to stick with for some time.Here are the 19 companies presenting at Alchemist Accelerator Demo Day XXV today|Greg Kumparak|September 17, 2020|TechCrunch
Close out Disrupt on Friday with a live, virtual Cocktail Party on Run the World.
Explore and connect with more than 40 early-stage mobility startups exhibiting in our virtual expo.Last day to save on passes to TC Sessions: Mobility 2020|Alexandra Ames|September 11, 2020|TechCrunch
Over the summer, the financial services company ran Fidelity Kids Camp, five weeks of virtual full-day summer activities for employees’ kids.The best back-to-school benefits companies are offering their employees|ehinchliffe|September 10, 2020|Fortune
Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders cannot be accessed without a virtual private network.
Just download the Virtual Joey App and you are ready to stream DISH service right to that screen.
Their new Virtual Joey app turns your existing PlayStation 3—and soon PS4—into its very own DVR.
The user is then transported into a 360-degree virtual world.Welcome to Oculus XXX: In-Your-Face 3D is the Future of Porn|Aurora Snow|October 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In a virtual world, it revives the relevance of authenticity.
Indeed, individual cases show a virtual lack of self-reliance.Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents|Oswald Chettle Mazengarb et al.
The king, while fully acknowledging Clive's services, thought him guilty of "rapine," and disapproved of his virtual acquittal.The Political History of England - Vol. X.|William Hunt
His empire thus consolidated, he would be virtual master of half the solid earth in the Eastern hemisphere.The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte|William Milligan Sloane
Their virtual assertion of popular sovereignty was temporarily smothered by imported tyranny in the shape of Sir Edmund Andros.William Bradford of Plymouth|Albert Hale Plumb
All the American press is not founded upon this system of virtual blackmail.As A Chinaman Saw Us|Anonymous