Meaning of “virus” in the English Dictionary

"virus" in British English

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virusnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈvaɪə.rəs/ us /ˈvaɪ.rəs/

virus noun [ C ] (DISEASE)

B2 an extremely small piece of organic material that causes disease in humans, animals, and plants:

Evidence suggested that the AIDS virus was spreading very quickly among the heterosexual community.

B2 a disease caused by a virus:

I don't know exactly what's wrong with her - I think she has some kind of virus.
Several employees were off work with a vomiting virus.

More examples

  • A local doctor was the first to raise the alarm about this latest virus.
  • The virus is contracted through exchange of bodily fluids.
  • All the tomato plants are infected with a virus.
  • The doctors have attributed the cause of the illness to an unknown virus.
  • It's possible to pass on the virus to others through physical contact.

virus noun [ C ] (COMPUTER PROBLEM)

B1 a computer program or part of a computer program that can make copies of itself and is intended to prevent the computer from working normally

Examples

  • A computer virus may lurk unseen in a computer's memory, calling up and infecting each of the machine's data files in turn.
  • The virus deletes files and corrupts essential core microchips leaving computers unusable.
  • All their customer information was wiped off the computer by a virus.
  • If you think there may be a virus, don't open the attachment.
  • I got a virus alert when I downloaded my email.

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

"virus" in American English

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virusnoun [ C ]

us /ˈvɑɪ·rəs/

virus noun [ C ] (SMALL ORGANISM)

biology a very small organism that causes disease in humans, animals, and plants

A virus is also a disease caused by a virus:

She’s had a virus for several days.

virus noun [ C ] (COMPUTER PROBLEM)

a hidden set of instructions in a computer program that is intended to introduce faults into a computer system or cause it to perform actions that were not planned

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

"virus" in Business English

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virusnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈvaɪərəs/ us also computer virus IT

a harmful computer program intended to prevent computers from working normally:

All their customer information was wiped off the computer by a virus.
I got a virus alert when I downloaded my email.
Virus attacks are the largest source of financial loss, followed by unauthorized access.
See also

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