One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The severity or harmfulness of a disease or poison.‘the proportion of birds which die depends on the virulence of the virus’
- ‘Pasteur's breakthrough with the principle of attenuating viruses—reducing their virulence—came in 1876.’
- ‘In the late 1870s, the Royal Navy refused to visit, because of the virulence of venereal infection there.’
- ‘Some of the new genes may contribute to the organism's virulence.’
- ‘Their work may help other scientists who are investigating the virulence of other major food-borne pathogens.’
- ‘The leishmania genes that determine virulence will be identified.’
2Bitter hostility; rancour.‘he was clearly pained by the virulence of the attacks’
- ‘I was startled by the severity and virulence with which he delivered the sentence at the end of the trial.’
- ‘You wonder why Sartre at the age of 50, when he wrote the book, must attack his childhood with such virulence.’
- ‘Even the wording of the wedding invitation has stirred up interfamilial virulence.’
- ‘What's interesting is the virulence of opinion on the opposing sides.’
- ‘The virulence of sectarianism there remains a major threat to the newly devolved institutions.’
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