Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an adult male, especially in having the ability to have sexual intercourse.
  • adjective Masculine in a robust way; manly.
  • adjective Energetic or forceful.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to a man as opposed to a woman; belonging to the male sex; hence, pertaining to procreation: as, the virile power.
  • Masculine; not feminine or puerile; hence, masterful; strong; forceful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having the nature, properties, or qualities, of an adult man; characteristic of developed manhood; hence, masterful; forceful; specifically, capable of begetting; -- opposed to womanly, feminine, and puerile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Being manly; having characteristics associated with being male, such as strength; exhibiting masculine traits to an exaggerated degree such as strength, forcefulness or vigor.
  • adjective grammar Pertaining to a grammatical gender used in plurals of some Slavic languages, corresponding to the personal masculine animate nouns.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective characteristic of a man
  • adjective characterized by energy and vigor
  • adjective (of a male) capable of copulation

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French viril, from Latin virīlis, from vir, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin virilis.

Examples

  • They've been made to believe that it makes them, what they call virile, poor fools, and they're growing ill on it.

    Plays of Near & Far

  • These happen all the time, whether we're aware of them or not, and the notion that something a bit more virile is at work behind these exchanges is always an interesting one.

    Short fiction report #4

  • In 1910 the Royal Canadian Academy sent an exhibition to England and I remember the disappointment expressed in the English papers in expecting to find something breezy and virile from a young country and finding only a tame acceptance of their own convictions.

    Two Views of Canadian Art

  • It is rather the re-assertion of the elemental quality in virile mankind, which, first in the garden was impelled to subdue the earth, and later founded colonies and transplanted empires across the faces of the planet.

    Development of the Canadian West

  • If you visit Benin and Nigeria, you’ll see that he is characterized as virile with horns and phallus.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God

  • He was what he and his followers liked to call the virile or red-blooded type, responsive to the "Call of the Wild,"

    The American Spirit in Literature : a chronicle of great interpreters

  • What some reports call "virile" disagreements during the negotiations basically centered on British concerns that increased regulation and taxation of financial services might harm the City of London as Europe's finance capital.

    TIME.com: Top Stories

  • It's already been posted on a number of blogs and websites, and seems to have gone what they call "virile" in Web parlance.

    Take a Seat: The Problem of Saddle Theft

  • Would the same caveat hold for the use of the word "virile" to describe the Socratic method?

    Pound on the Socratic Method

  • She discovered it in the "virile" attentions of Molineux's friend Barnet.

    Poison Served His Purpose

Comments

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  • (American pronunciation only - vrrrrrl - it's practically onamatopoeic)

    January 23, 2007

  • I've always pronounced it "veer-uhl".

    January 24, 2007

  • Austin Powers used this word when he was looking at his frozen self when he went back in time.

    June 10, 2012