Virtual vs Actual - What's the difference?

virtual | actual | Antonyms |

Virtual is an antonym of actual.

As adjectives the difference between virtual and actual

is that virtual is in effect or essence, if not in fact or reality; imitated, simulated while actual is existing in act or reality, not just potentially; really acted or acting; occurring in fact.

As nouns the difference between virtual and actual

is that virtual is (computing) in c++, a virtual member function of a class while actual is an actual, real one; notably:.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?


Alternative forms

* vertual (obsolete) * vertuall (qualifier) * virtuall (obsolete)


  • In effect or essence, if not in fact or reality; imitated, simulated.
  • In fact a defeat on the battlefield, Tet was a virtual victory for the North, owing to its effect on public opinion.
    Virtual addressing allows applications to believe that there is much more physical memory than actually exists.
  • * Fleming
  • A thing has a virtual existence when it has all the conditions necessary to its actual existence.
  • * De Quincey
  • to mask by slight differences in the manners a virtual identity in the substance
  • Having the power of acting or of invisible efficacy without the agency of the material or measurable part; potential.
  • * Francis Bacon
  • Heat and cold have a virtual transition, without communication of substance.
  • * Milton
  • Every kind that lives, / Fomented by his virtual power, and warmed.
  • Nearly, almost. (A relatively recent corruption of meaning, attributed to misuse in advertising and media. )
  • The angry peasants were a virtual army as they attacked the castle.
  • * 2012 , Chelsea 6-0 Wolves []
  • The Chelsea captain was a virtual spectator as he was treated to his side's biggest win for almost two years as Stamford Bridge serenaded him with chants of "there's only one England captain," some 48 hours after he announced his retirement from international football.
  • Simulated in a computer or online.
  • The virtual world of his computer game allowed character interaction.
  • Operating by computer or in cyberspace; not physically present.
  • a virtual''' assistant; a '''virtual personal trainer
  • (computing, object-oriented programming, of a class member) Capable of being overridden with a different implementation in a subclass.
  • (physics) Pertaining to particles in temporary existence due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
  • Synonyms

    * de facto


    * de jure * legal * real

    Derived terms

    * virtual reality * virtually


    (en noun)
  • (computing) In C++, a virtual member function of a class.
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  • Existing in act or reality, not just potentially; really acted or acting; occurring in fact.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-07, author=(Gary Younge)
  • , volume=188, issue=26, page=18, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Hypocrisy lies at heart of Manning prosecution , passage=They also exposed the blatant discrepancy between the west's professed values and actual foreign policies.}}
  • Factual, real, not just apparent or even false.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=1 citation , passage=The original family who had begun to build a palace to rival Nonesuch had died out before they had put up little more than the gateway, so that the actual structure which had come down to posterity retained the secret magic of a promise rather than the overpowering splendour of a great architectural achievement.}}
  • (dated) In action at the time being; now existing; current.
  • (obsolete) Active, not passive.
  • * Shakespeare
  • her walking and other actual performances.
  • * Jeremy Taylor
  • Let your holy and pious intention be actual ; that is given to God.
  • Used to emphasise a noun or verb, whether something is real or metaphorical.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= The machine of a new soul , passage=The yawning gap in neuroscientists’ understanding of their topic is in the intermediate scale of the brain’s anatomy. Science has a passable knowledge of how individual nerve cells, known as neurons, work. It also knows which visible lobes and ganglia of the brain do what. But how the neurons are organised in these lobes and ganglia remains obscure. Yet this is the level of organisation that does the actual thinking—and is, presumably, the seat of consciousness.}}

    Usage notes

    * In some foreign languages the counterpart of (actual) means “current”. This meaning also occurs in English written by non-native speakers, but is nonstandard English. * The phrase (term) is criticised by many as redundant., page 3


    * (existing in act or reality) real * (in action at the time being) present * positive


    * (existing in act or reality) potential, possible, virtual, speculative, conceivable, theoretical, nominal, hypothetical, estimated * (in action at the time being) future, past

    Derived terms

    * actualism * actualist * actuality * actualize * actualization * actually


    (en noun)
  • An actual, real one; notably:
  • # (finance) Something actually received; real receipts, as distinct from estimated ones.
  • # (military) A radio callsign modifier that specifies the commanding officer of the unit or asset denoted by the remainder of the callsign and not the officer's assistant or other designee.
  • "Bravo Six Actual , Snakebite leader" (The person with the callsign "Snakebite leader" requests to speak to the commander of company Bravo and not the radio operator.)

    See also

    * certain * genuine



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