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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce virulent (audio)

Dictionary definition of virulent

Extremely potent, harmful, or infectious, particularly in the context of diseases, toxins, or hostile ideologies.
"The virulent strain of the virus spread rapidly and caused widespread panic."

Detailed meaning of virulent

When a disease or pathogen is labeled as 'virulent,' it signifies that it is highly aggressive and capable of causing severe illness or death. In a broader sense, 'virulent' can also describe any force, idea, or rhetoric that spreads rapidly and aggressively, causing harm or destruction. This term underscores the intensity and dangerousness of the subject in question, suggesting that it possesses a high level of potency or a propensity to cause widespread damage, whether it's a pathogenic virus or a vehemently harmful ideology.

Example sentences containing virulent

1. The virulent strain of the virus caused widespread panic among health officials.
2. His virulent criticism of the government's policies caught the attention of the media.
3. The disease spread in a virulent manner, causing alarm in the community.
4. The virulent debate on the new law ended without any consensus.
5. Her virulent attack on the proposal surprised everyone at the meeting.
6. The virulent hatred between the two rival gangs led to escalating violence.

History and etymology of virulent

The etymology of the adjective 'virulent' can be traced back to the Latin word 'virulentus,' which originally meant 'full of poison' or 'venomous.' This Latin term is derived from 'virus,' meaning 'poison' or 'venom.' Over time, the word 'virulent' has retained its association with toxicity and harm. In modern usage, it describes something that is extremely potent, harmful, or infectious, particularly in the context of diseases, toxins, or hostile ideologies. The historical connection to poison underscores the notion of a destructive and dangerous quality, whether it pertains to a potent pathogen, a harmful substance, or a malevolent belief system. Thus, the etymology of 'virulent' reflects its enduring link to the concept of toxicity and the grave harm it can inflict in various contexts.

Quiz: Find the meaning of virulent

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Further usage examples of virulent

1. Despite the team's best efforts, the virulent computer virus corrupted all the data.
2. She was known for her virulent opposition to animal testing.
3. The virulent rumors damaged the reputation of the company.
4. Their campaign became more virulent as the election approached.
5. After the virulent spread of the disease, the city was put under quarantine.
6. The virulent outbreak of the flu resulted in many schools being closed.
7. His virulent reaction to the decision was unexpected.
8. The virulent spread of misinformation on social media is a major concern.
9. The virulent bacteria resisted all types of antibiotics.
10. The speaker's virulent remarks sparked controversy among the listeners.
11. The virulent nature of the pest destroyed the entire crop.
12. Her article was a virulent critique of the current political system.
13. The virulent infection required aggressive treatment.
14. A virulent form of racism is unfortunately still present in some societies.



toxic, harmless, benign, healthful


Character Traits and Behavior, Obstacles and Hardships, Conflict and Disagreement, Conflict and Confrontation, Fear and Ferocity, Hostility and Brutality, Hostility and Opposition

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