Meaning of “virtual” in the English Dictionary

"virtual" in British English

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virtualadjective

uk /ˈvɜː.tʃu.əl/ us /ˈvɝː.tʃu.əl/

virtual adjective (ALMOST)

C1 [ before noun ] almost a particular thing or quality:

Ten years of incompetent government had brought about the virtual collapse of the country's economy.

More examples

  • Fighting and shortages have brought normal life to a virtual standstill in the city.
  • He is a virtual prisoner in his own home.
  • Falling orders led to the virtual ruin of her company.
  • She suffered a virtual breakdown when her marriage broke up.
  • They operate in virtual secrecy.

(Definition of “virtual” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"virtual" in American English

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virtualadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈvɜr·tʃu·əl/

almost, but not exactly or in every way:

She was a virtual unknown before this movie.
Snow brought Minneapolis to a virtual standstill yesterday.
virtually
adverb [ not gradable ] us /ˈvɜr·tʃə·wə·li/

Unemployment in this part of the country is virtually nonexistent.

(Definition of “virtual” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"virtual" in Business English

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virtualadjective

uk /ˈvɜːtʃuəl/ us

[ before noun ] almost complete:

Falling orders led to the virtual ruin of her company.
It is important to ensure that mergers of these companies do not result in a virtual monopoly in the industry.

INTERNET, IT used to describe something that can be done or seen using computers or the internet instead of going to a place, meeting people in person, etc.:

The country's first virtual business school is up and running.
Click here to take a virtual tour of homes we have for sale.

(Definition of “virtual” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)