VRML, sometimes pronounced vermal, is an acronym for "Virtual Reality Modeling Language". It is the International Standard (ISO/IEC 14772) file format for describing interactive 3D multimedia on the Internet. Technically speaking, VRML is neither virtual reality nor a modeling language. Virtual reality typically implies an immersive 3D experience (such as a head-mounted display) and 3D input devices (such as digital gloves). VRML neither requires nor precludes immersion. Furthermore, a true modeling language would contain much richer geometric modeling primitives and mechanisms. VRML provides a bare minimum of geometric modeling features and contains numerous features far beyond the scope of a modeling language.

The first release of the VRML 1.0 specification was created by Silicon Graphics, Inc. and based on the Open Inventor file format. The second release of VRML added significantly more interactive capabilities. It was primarily designed by the Silicon Graphics VRML team with contributions from Sony Research, Mitra, and many others.

VRML 2.0 was reviewed by the VRML moderated email discussion group (www-vrml@vrml.org) and later adopted and endorsed by many companies and individuals.

In December 1997, VRML97 replaced VRML 2.0 and was formally released as International Standard ISO/IEC 14772. It is almost identical to VRML 2.0, but with many editorial improvements to the document and a few minor functional differences.