Meaning of virus in English:


Pronunciation /ˈvʌɪrəs/

Translate virus into Spanish


  • 1An infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.

    ‘the hepatitis B virus’
    • ‘a virus infection’
    • ‘Virtually all pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi are anaerobic and will be killed by hydrogen peroxide.’
    • ‘The evolution of a virus within a host has been shown to be strongly influenced by its environment.’
    • ‘Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria.’
    • ‘Herpes and other viruses come with protein tool kits of their own.’
    • ‘It may be difficult to recognize the virus within the cells due to the presence of similar sized ribosomes.’
    • ‘Bacteria and some viruses multiply and mutate rapidly, and can evolve much more quickly than we can develop new drugs to fight them.’
    • ‘A large number of viruses emerge from the host cell before it dies.’
    • ‘White blood cells chase bacteria and viruses, preventing us from getting sick.’
    • ‘Leucodepletion also reduces transmission rates of other cell associated viruses such as cytomegalovirus.’
    • ‘Most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses.’
    • ‘Antibiotic overuse can lead to antibiotic-resistant viruses.’
    • ‘Genetic sequencing found the viruses in the two men to be nearly identical.’
    • ‘ Viruses reproduce as they infect animals and people.’
    • ‘Deer mice were determined to be the main carriers of the virus.’
    • ‘She explores the devastating impacts of the Ebola virus in her latest documentary.’
    • ‘The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person.’
    • ‘The new drugs could even destroy the virus.’
    • ‘She now believes that she was a victim of the Zika virus after being bitten by a mosquito.’
    • ‘West Nile virus is endemic in this area.’
    • ‘Mosquitoes typically become carriers of the virus after feeding on an infected bird.’
    1. 1.1An infection or disease caused by a virus.
      ‘I've had a virus’
      • ‘They think it was a virus and he's now been told to get plenty of rest.’
      • ‘She is suffering from a nasty virus which could jeopardise her place in the final.’
      • ‘She has been laid low by a virus which she has not been able to shake off with antibiotics.’
      • ‘She was struck down by a nasty virus.’
      • ‘He has also been suffering from a virus for the last two weeks.’
      • ‘She was found to be suffering from a minor virus.’
      • ‘Malcolm manages to convince Claire that she has a virus.’
      • ‘I had a virus two years back where I vomited for 3 weeks straight.’
      • ‘He had a bad virus so he missed another week on the back of that.’
      • ‘He is reportedly suffering from a stomach virus.’
      • ‘I'm still not sure if I might have had a mild virus or something.’
      • ‘He had a stomach virus and sat on the bench but did not play.’
    2. 1.2A harmful or corrupting influence.
      • ‘the virus of cruelty that is latent in all human beings’
  • 2

    (also computer virus)
    A piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.

    ‘How do you stop a virus from spreading and infecting other computers?’
    • ‘Anyone who has been hit by a computer virus will be doubly wary of unexpected emails in the future that may contain viruses.’
    • ‘So Thomas decided to exact revenge by surreptitiously placing a vicious computer virus on Scott's machine which destroyed his hard drive.’
    • ‘Specifically, it aims to help businesses understand and protect against the most common IT-related risks, such as viruses.’
    • ‘I have never had an issue with viruses on my computer.’
    • ‘He said there was nothing wrong with the laptop, it just had a virus.’
    • ‘ Viruses and malware are always a threat.’
    • ‘Most virus and malware threats exploit security holes in outdated versions of popular software.’
    • ‘Criminals infect computers with a virus called ransom-ware - which basically kidnaps files and holds them hostage. ’
    • ‘Sometimes USB devices infect your computer with deadly viruses.’
    • ‘These are often just spam links which could infect your computer with viruses .’
    • ‘Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus .’
    • ‘The company has signed a $32 million deal to protect government agencies from online viruses and hacking attempts.’
    • ‘When a virus infects your computer , it makes the machine's performance slow down greatly.’
    • ‘To prevent malware like viruses from infecting your computer, you may want to look into security measures such as purchasing antivirus software.’
    • ‘Very frequently, the cause of a slow computer is simply a virus.’
    • ‘Sometimes a virus even "hides" in a flash drive and is unknowingly transferred to a PC.’
    • ‘Investigators traced the virus to an email address registered to an apartment in Manila.’
    • ‘Viruses can scan your computer hard drive for banking credentials.’
    • ‘The virus encrypts data on hard drives until a ransom is paid.’


Late Middle English (denoting the venom of a snake): from Latin, literally ‘slimy liquid, poison’. The earlier medical sense, superseded by the current use as a result of improved scientific understanding, was ‘a substance produced in the body as the result of disease, especially one capable of infecting others’.