virtual

[vur-choo-uhl]
adjective
1.
being such in power, force, or effect, though not actually or expressly such: a virtual dependence on charity.
2.
Optics.
a.
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 ).
b.
noting a focus of a system forming virtual images.
3.
temporarily simulated or extended by computer software: a virtual disk in RAM; virtual memory on a hard disk.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin virtuālis, equivalent to Latin virtu(s) virtue + -ālis -al1

virtuality, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
virtual (ˈvɜːtʃʊəl)
 
adj
1.  having the essence or effect but not the appearance or form of: a virtual revolution
2.  physics being, relating to, or involving a virtual image: a virtual focus
3.  computing of or relating to virtual storage: virtual memory
4.  of or relating to a computer technique by which a person, wearing a headset or mask, has the experience of being in an environment created by the computer, and of interacting with and causing changes in it
5.  rare capable of producing an effect through inherent power or virtue
6.  physics See also exchange force designating or relating to a particle exchanged between other particles that are interacting by a field of force: a virtual photon
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin virtuālis effective, from Latin virtūsvirtue]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

virtual
late 14c., "influencing by physical virtues or capabilities," from M.L. virtualis, from L. virtus "excellence, potency, efficacy," lit. "manliness, manhood" (see virtue). The meaning of "being something in essence or fact, though not in name" is first recorded 1650s, probably
via sense of "capable of producing a certain effect" (early 15c.). Computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" is attested from 1959.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

virtual definition

jargon, architecture
(Via the technical term virtual memory, probably from the term "virtual image" in optics) 1. Common alternative to logical; often used to refer to the artificial objects (like addressable virtual memory larger than physical memory) created by a computer system to help the system control access to shared resources.
2. Simulated; performing the functions of something that isn't really there. An imaginative child's doll may be a virtual playmate.
Opposite of real or physical.
[Jargon File]
(1994-11-30)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faces
  virtual bankruptcy.
Now some universities are using the virtual world to train nurses.
But the fast-increasing array of virtual programs poses a challenge.
Virtual dissections cannot replace the latter as everything is always the same
  every single time you look at it.
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