why isn’t viralness a word?

When referring to the effectiveness of a viral advertising campaign, or when a video is extremely, or not very, viral, you want a word exactly like "viralness" to discuss it; however, there is no entry in any dictionary for this word. Is there a better word I should use? "Virality" is not correct. What part of speech are words ending in "-ness" anyway? Why do all my searches end up with, "Did you mean..." and then suggest other words not much like what I mean at all?

Thanks, greenbean. I'm afraid you're right. While it's not quite what I'm meaning when it comes to the more current use of the term "viral" in today's usage, I guess "virulence" is all we have for now. That really seems "over the top" and sort of ugly.

(But thank you! You're right.)

Anyone have suggestions for a better word for it?

5 Answers

  • Virality

  • My 2 cents. Viral is a description. ' to spread quickly" The video went viral, his pneumonia went viral, you can't add "ness to it.. Greenbean is correct. Virulent is the only word you can use in that context. Notice the spellings. Virility is derived from Virile, meaning "having the qualities of a young man". "Studly" would be how we describe a virile man now. It is archaic. Not really used. Just like you can't say "radicalness", see? Viralness falls into that category. A video could go ballistic in the media or on the web. Infectious is the only other word I can think of that would work. Maybe meteoric. Hope that helped....That was an interesting question....

  • Hm, if you're talking about actual viruses, virulence is used for how much / how badly disease is caused. A better way to extend the "viral" analogy would be contagiousness.

  • http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virulenc...



    I think virulence is the word you're looking for. The etymology I found for it that best reflected my interpretation of the word does not discuss viral advertising but a virus in the medical sense shares the same characteristic. Obviously you then have virulent as an adjective.

  • Use virality. It is a word.

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