Antiviral – Definition & Meaning

Antiviral is a term that has become increasingly relevant in recent times. With the rise of viral infections and pandemics, the need for effective antiviral treatments has become more pressing than ever. But what exactly does the term antiviral mean? In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of antiviral, as well as its origins and associations.


Antiviral is an adjective that describes something that is effective against viruses. It can be used to describe drugs, vaccines, or other treatments that are designed to prevent or cure viral infections. Antiviral can also be used as a noun to refer to a substance or treatment that has antiviral properties.


The term antiviral is derived from the Latin word “anti,” meaning “against,” and the word “virus,” which originally referred to any poisonous substance. The modern meaning of virus as a pathogen was not established until the late 19th century.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, antiviral means “acting, effective, or directed against viruses.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines antiviral as “preventing, inhibiting, or destroying viruses.”


Antiviral is often associated with the treatment of viral infections such as influenza, HIV, and hepatitis. It is also associated with the development of vaccines to prevent viral infections.


Synonyms of antiviral include antiviral agent, antiviral drug, and antiviral medication.


Antonyms of antiviral include pro-viral, which describes something that promotes the replication of viruses.

The same root words

Antiviral shares the same root words as other terms related to infectious diseases, such as antibacterial and antifungal.

Example Sentences

  • The doctor prescribed an antiviral medication to treat the patient’s flu symptoms.
  • Researchers are working on developing an effective antiviral vaccine for COVID-19.
  • The antiviral properties of garlic have long been recognized in traditional medicine.
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