Definitions

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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an adult male.
  • adj. Having or showing masculine spirit, strength, vigor, or power. See Synonyms at male.
  • adj. Capable of performing sexually as a male; potent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. 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 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French viril, from Latin virīlis, from vir, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin virilis. (Wiktionary)

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

    June 10, 2012

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

    January 24, 2007

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

    January 23, 2007