Definition of virginal in English:



  • Being, relating to, or appropriate for a virgin.

    ‘virginal shyness’
    • ‘The virginal mind is innocent in the positive sense.’
    • ‘The third virtue central to the sangang doctrine is jie or chastity (preserving the marital fidelity of the wife or the virginal purity of an unmarried woman).’
    • ‘Working in a largely male-dominated office, the arrival of any new female face, let alone a young, innocent and possibly virginal one, is greeted with much excitement.’
    • ‘The studio hushed it up to preserve her virginal image.’
    • ‘She was waiting for him in a bed of an obscenely virginal white lace and satin.’
    • ‘On this occasion relays of patriotic maidens in virginal white paraded reverently before a temple of philosophy erected where the high altar had stood.’
    • ‘As for me, spinsters have no need for virginal innocence.’
    • ‘Her risqué performance during the Onyx Hotel tour proved once and for all that she has successfully made the transition from virginal adolescence to libidinous adulthood, to the consternation of some and joy of others.’
    • ‘Dressed in virginal white, eight young girls executed endless parans and moved fluidly across the stage in a piece titled Nritta, or pure dance.’
    • ‘I read a large amount of news online, but I still practice an almost ritualistic reading of the physical paper; so much so that I get antsy when some else reads my virginal paper before I get to it.’
    • ‘Ornamental umbels are represented by the delicately virginal Queen Anne's lace, which can grow to monstrous proportions if supported among other plants in the flower border and makes a surprisingly good cut flower.’
    • ‘Hospitals may have a certain erotic frisson, but romance novelists just love an exotic location, preferably some desert land ruled by a dusky tyrant who can give the virginal heroine a rough ride on his camel.’
    • ‘He peels the spuds, digs the garden and with a virginal innocence shifts his affections from the daughter to the mother; yet he is also quietly scathing about the journeyman daubs of his fellow lodger.’
    • ‘Reader's warning: this article uses unsavory language and is not recommended for virginal ears.’
    • ‘Let's go back to the, like, virginal innocence thing, because that can be cool too.’
    • ‘White pups on white snow are seen as symbols of virginal nature, threatened by a hunter with upraised club.’
    • ‘No need to shield your virginal eyes, the nude figures have been laboriously obscured.’
    • ‘In fact when we first meet her she seems quite virginal.’
    • ‘Both Diana and Jemima married at a young, impressionable age to men who decided their brides ‘fitted the bill’ as virginal sweet young things.’
    • ‘In Chaplin's film it is love at first sight and the tramp will do anything he can to help the blind heroine. They both have the innocence of schoolchildren, and theirs is the virginal dream of love, not the reality.’
    chaste, celibate, abstinent, self-restrained, self-denying
    chaste, virgin, celibate, abstinent, self-restrained, self-denying
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usually virginals
  • An early spinet with the strings parallel to the keyboard, typically rectangular, and popular in 16th and 17th century houses.

    • ‘It's a chest of whistles, it's a set of virginals, it's just about anything you want to make of it.’
    • ‘Some Flemish ‘mother and child’ virginals were made effectively double-manual by having a small 4 virginals tucked away in a drawer beside the keyboard.’
    • ‘The Musical Director tried out some tunes on the virginals but none of them was up to much until they came to this one.’
    • ‘The virginals in Vermeer's The Music Lesson are recognizable as instruments created by the firm of Ruckers, and the standard dimensions of their design are used as a cross-check by Steadman for the dimensions of the room as a whole.’
    • ‘The pieces in Musicks Hand-maide are transcriptions of such music, played here on the virginals.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin virginalis, from virgo ‘young woman’. The musical instrument is perhaps so called because it was usually played by young women.