1. Existing or resulting in essence or effect though not in actual fact, form, or name: the virtual extinction of the buffalo.
2. Existing in the mind, especially as a product of the imagination. Used in literary criticism of a text.
a. Existing as or by means of digital media: a virtual classroom.
b. Relating to or existing in virtual reality: a virtual encounter in a chatroom.
c. Emulating the function of another system or device.
[Middle English virtuall, effective, from Medieval Latin virtuālis, from Latin virtūs, excellence; see VIRTUE.]
vir′tu·ali·ty (-ălĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.