Definitions

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  • n. Plural form of virus.

Etymologies

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  • Virii, a mass noun, plural and singular take the form:"virii". Meaning: Originally used to indicate a computer virus, it has evolved to become a synonym for "malware" and is used to indicate any single item or any mixture of types of malware: computer virus, trojan, worm, ad-ware, and in some cases, even DRM mechanisms that prevent proper maintenance of a system or the making of backup copies of software or media.

    Example: I've got virii on my computer! Its running really slowly!

    Origin (Etymology): While clearly inspired by the perception of old Latin forms, such as "radii", and based on the root "virus", it is not Latin, it is strictly a recent American English neologism and now part of Modern English.

    Acceptance: Some Grammarians claim "virii" is not a word because it never existed in Latin. However there has -never- been a requirement that a neologism be a word in some other language before it can become part of English. Example: the word "Google" which is clearly part of Modern English today, was inspired by the math term "Google" but the word "Google" itself was never a math term or a word at all prior to its recent birth. So the

    alleged requirement that a word has to have been part of Latin to be a word in English is clearly erroneous. (Someone -Please- tell Tom Christiansen! Its embarrassing for such an excellent Perl author making such an error. ) The second complaint against virii is that it can't be a word because its not in the dictionary. Again the grammarians fail to understand how languages actually work. If all words had to be "In a Dictionary"

    before they could be a "word", there would be No Words At All In Existence! See -if a word had to be in the dictionary in order to be accepted as a word, how did all the new words get into the dictionary?

    Dictionaries do not define languages, they document them AFTER the fact. It is an inherent property of Dictionaries that they are, despite our best and most strenuous efforts, already obsolete before they are even published. Languages are dynamic, ever changing phenomena. Saying that a new word can't be a word because its not in the dictionary "yet" is like saying you can't put a building on a lot because its not there yet.

    Fortunately Linguists know this and while they occasionally have to set the record straight, they tend to ignore compulsive grammarians (known as peevologists) as being a little like the ads plastered on a fence in a big city: obnoxious, and distracting but soon to be covered up by the next layer.

    June 13, 2009