|See under Virtual.|
|(Mech.)||a minute hypothetical displacement, assumed in analysis to facilitate the investigation of statical problems. With respect to any given force of a number of forces holding a material system in equilibrium, it is the projection, upon the direction of the force, of a line joining its point of application with a new position of that point indefinitely near to the first, to which the point is conceived to have been moved, without disturbing the equilibrium of the system, or the connections of its parts with each other. Strictly speaking, it is not a velocity but a length.|
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.