[vizh-oo-uh l]
See more synonyms for visual on
  1. of or relating to seeing or sight: a visual image.
  2. used in seeing: the visual sense.
  3. optical.
  4. perceptible by the sense of sight; visible: a visual beauty.
  5. perceptible by the mind; of the nature of a mental vision: a visual impression captured in a line of verse.
  1. 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.
  2. a rough, preliminary sketch of an advertising layout, showing possible arrangements of material.Compare comprehensive(def 5).
  3. any item or element depending on the sense of sight.

Origin of visual

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 formsnon·vis·u·al, adjectivesub·vis·u·al, adjective, nounsu·per·vis·u·al, adjectivesu·per·vis·u·al·ly, adverbun·vis·u·al, adjectiveun·vis·u·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedvisible visual Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for visual

Contemporary Examples of visual

Historical Examples of visual

  • 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


  1. of, relating to, done by, or used in seeingvisual powers; visual steering
  2. another word for optical
  3. capable of being seen; visible
  4. of, occurring as, or induced by a mental image
  1. a sketch to show the proposed layout of an advertisement, as in a newspaper
  2. (often plural) a photograph, film, or other display material
Derived Formsvisually, adverb

Word Origin for visual

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

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

visual in Medicine


  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.