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[vahy-ruh l] /ˈvaɪ rəl/
of, relating to, or caused by a virus.
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.
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.
pertaining to a computer virus.
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
1935-40; vir(us) + -al1
Related forms
antiviral, adjective
Can be confused
viral, virile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for antiviral
  • Advances including better nutrition, antiviral medications and vaccines are preventing the rapid spread of the illness.
  • But many anticancer and antiviral drugs are toxic to marrow.
  • Surveillance systems and antiviral treatments will help contain a disease, but they cannot halt it the way a vaccine could.
  • One way to slow its spread is to treat infected birds with amantadine, an antiviral drug meant for humans.
  • Better vaccines and antiviral drugs, they argue, would be vital to protect people if an outbreak were to occur.
  • In the meantime, there are antiviral medicines for treatment of the symptoms, provided the condition is caught early enough.
  • The antiviral era is upon us, with an array of virus-fighting drugs on the market and in development.
  • But stimulating their sparse natural production remains a hurdle in developing an antiviral therapy.
  • Because the antiviral effect of the chimaera lasts only about a week, patients would need to have regular injections.
  • The antiviral immune response, however, is not yet on par with that seen in humans.
British Dictionary definitions for antiviral


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


of, relating to, or caused by a virus
(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
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Word Origin and History for antiviral



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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antiviral in Medicine

antiviral an·ti·vi·ral (ān'tē-vī'rəl, ān'tī-)
Destroying or inhibiting the growth and reproduction of viruses.

an'ti·vi'ral n.

viral vi·ral (vī'rəl)
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.
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