n 1938, Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as "la réalité virtuelle" in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double. The English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double, is the earliest published use of the term "virtual reality". The term "artificial reality", coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the 1970s. The term "virtual reality" was used in The Judas Mandala, a 1982 science fiction novel by Damien Broderick. The Oxford English Dictionary cites a 1987 article titled "Virtual reality", but the article is not about VR technology. "Virtual" has had the meaning "being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact" since the mid-1400s, "...probably via sense of "capable of producing a certain effect" (early 1400s)".

The term "virtual" has been used in the computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" since 1959.[5] The term "reality" has been used in English since the 1540s, to mean "quality of being real," from "French réalité and directly Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis"

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