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1. Physics being, relating to, or involving a virtual image
2. of or relating to a computer technique by which a person, wearing a headset or mask, has the experience of being in an environment created by the computer, and of interacting with and causing changes in it
3. Physics designating or relating to a particle exchanged between other particles that are interacting by a field of force
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Pertaining to conceptual rather than physical.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(jargon, architecture)
(Via the technical term virtual memory, probably from the term "virtual image" in optics) 1. Common alternative to logical; often used to refer to the artificial objects (like addressable virtual memory larger than physical memory) created by a computer system to help the system control access to shared resources.

2. Simulated; performing the functions of something that isn't really there. An imaginative child's doll may be a virtual playmate.

Opposite of real or physical.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


Today, the term virtual has evolved to become synonymous with "online," although that was not its original meaning. Virtual was coined decades ago for "virtual memory," whereby an unlimited amount of RAM was simulated on disk. The term then became used for other conditions that were simulated in some manner; for example, a "virtual world" is all computer-generated imagery. Virtual describes a condition without boundaries or constraints, and therefore a "virtual meeting" is not limited by physical location. See virtual memory.

The Virtualized Datacenter
Another major use of the term is "virtual machine," which simulates a computer within a computer. The enabler of cloud computing datacenters, each virtual machine contains an operating system that communicates with a control program and not the hardware directly. The hardware is simulated in the control program (see virtual machine). See cloud computing.

Synonyms: Online,Digital and Internet
The word is a complete substitute for "online," "digital" and "Internet." Virtual also means "not physical," for example, "The company's product will be virtual for another year."

MAJOR VIRTUAL TERMS virtual memory virtual machine virtual assistant virtual machine monitor desktop virtualization application virtualization network virtualization OS virtualization server virtualization storage virtualization virtual appliance Java Virtual Machine virtual private cloud virtual private server VPN (virtual private network)

  OTHER VIRTUAL TERMS virtual 8086 Mode virtual access point virtual autopsy virtual circuit virtual community virtual companion virtual company virtual conference virtual connection virtual copy virtual currency virtual data room virtual database

  virtual datacenter
    (see  datacenter container)

   virtual desktop services virtual device

  virtual device driver
    (see  VxD)

  Virtual Device Interface 
    (see  VDI)

   virtual directory virtual disk virtual DOS machine virtual drive virtual environment

  Virtual Execution System
   (see  VES)

   virtual folder virtual function virtual funds

  virtual greeting card
    (see  e-card)

  virtual hard drive
    (see  RAM disk)

   virtual headphones virtual host virtual hypertext virtual image virtual instrument virtual IP address virtual ISP virtual keyboard virtual kidnapping virtual LAN virtual learning virtual library Virtual Machine Manager virtual marketplace virtual mentoring virtual monitor virtual network

  virtual network computing
    (see  VNC)

   virtual newscaster Virtual patient Virtual PC Virtual PC for Mac virtual peripheral virtual phone number virtual printer virtual printer port virtual processor virtual radio station virtual reality virtual root virtual routing virtual screen virtual serial port virtual server virtual shopping virtual storage virtual store virtual supercomputer

  virtual surround sound
    (see  3D audio)

   virtual switch virtual tape virtual tape library virtual tape system virtual terminal virtual toolkit virtual traffic lights virtual training virtual voicemail virtual workgroup virtual world virtualization virtualize

  AMD Virtualization
    (see  AMD-V)

   VirtualWiFi full virtualization hardware virtualization I/O virtualization paravirtualization hardware virtual memory

  augmented virtuality 
    (see  augmented reality)

  computer automatic virtual environment
    (see  CAVE)

  Global Virtual Private Network
    (see  GVPN)

  Intel Virtualization Technology
    (see  VT)

  K Virtual Machine
    (see  KVM)

   Microsoft Virtual Machine Microsoft Virtual Server

  permanent virtual circuit
    (see  PVC)

  switched virtual circuit
    (see  SVC)

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References in periodicals archive ?
The key message presented by "Working Virtually" is that, in an environment where there is no face to face and informal contact, virtual working requires the creation of a matrix of distributed teams, and that their success depends on the right preparation, changing corporate culture and rewards, and implementing appropriate strategies at the management level to create team cohesion and motivate team members.
"The Big Picture" and "Virtually Mike and Nora" will only be accessible on the Hulu VR app for the Samsung Gear VR.
Lori Ballen's event, The Ballen Method Virtually Live, is tailored specifically for the real estate industry, although The Ballen Method, as taught by Lori Ballen, applies to small businesses of various genres.
The company senior vice president and general manager, Joe Domenico, said, 'We are thrilled to be offering our loyal customers a visit to centre Boardwalk in Atlantic City for Virtually Free in celebration of Bally's 30th birthday.
Continuing its commitment to the exploding use of mobile devices by travelers, Sabre extended many new and existing web features to the mobile device in the enhanced version of Sabre Virtually There.
With this new generation of technology, virtually all types of documents and incoming mail can be processed automatically, reducing data-entry, processing times and costs.
Prospect said yesterday was a key date for pay settlements in the Civil Service, but claimed that virtually no offers had been tabled for the coming year, while several were still outstanding from last year.
The demonstrations are real demonstrations of trucks working and of course we don't have to dismantle the display after three of four days; it's available 24 hours a day and seven days a week." The majority of the visitors to Virtually Atlet have come, not surprisingly, from Sweden where Atlet has its global headquarters.
Virtually free storage, plus high speed communications, plus Web 2.0 technologies make it possible for master teachers to work with many apprentice teachers to teach many more students more effectively.
The patented Flex Wall weigh hopper and pinch valve combination is said to be an efficient and virtually maintenance-free way to deliver carbon black into a mixer.
Senate, and a contentious statewide ballot initiative.) I'm thankful Oregon is one of the few states where DREs are virtually nonexistent (more on that later).
One of the most prominent and well known governmental regulations that virtually mandates C&D recycling is the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) requirement that all concrete, asphalt, wood, metals and old corrugated containers (OCC) generated in the state be banned from disposal in landfills.