vir·​tu·​o·​so | \ ˌvər-chü-ˈō-(ˌ)sō How to pronounce virtuoso (audio) , -(ˌ)zō \
plural virtuosos or virtuosi\ ˌvər-​chü-​ˈō-​(ˌ)sē How to pronounce virtuosi (audio) , -​(ˌ)zē \

Definition of virtuoso

1 : one who excels in the technique of an art especially : a highly skilled musical performer (as on the violin)
2 : an experimenter or investigator especially in the arts and sciences : savant
3 : one skilled in or having a taste for the fine arts
4 : a person who has great skill at some endeavor a computer virtuoso

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Other Words from virtuoso

virtuosic \ ˌvər-​chü-​ˈō-​sik How to pronounce virtuosic (audio) , -​zik \ adjective
virtuoso adjective

Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed the Italian noun virtuoso in the 1600s. It comes in turn from the Italian adjective virtuoso, which means both "virtuous" and "skilled." In English, virtuoso can be pluralized as either virtuosos or virtuosi, and it is often used attributively ("a virtuoso performer"). The first virtuosos were individuals of substantial knowledge and learning ("great wits," to quote one 17th-century clergyman). The word was then transferred to those skilled in the fine arts, and by the 18th century it had acquired its specific sense applied to musicians. In the 20th century, English speakers broadened virtuoso again to apply to a person skilled in any pursuit.

Examples of virtuoso in a Sentence

He's a real virtuoso in the kitchen.
Recent Examples on the Web The brilliant virtuoso pianists were thoughtfully chosen from a talented pool of 158 applicants from 33 different countries and range from 18 to 32 years of age. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "Contestants announced for Piano Cleveland’s first virtual competition: Strong Points," 2 July 2020 In 1993, Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson set out to find the secret to turning a typical teen into a violin virtuoso. Popular Science, "Ten-thousand hours of practice isn’t enough to make you a star," 27 June 2020 His major partnership with Adidas (ADDDF) that began in 2013 earned him raves and a reputation as a streetwear virtuoso. Oliver Effron, CNN, "Gap will sell Kanye West's Yeezy line. Its stock is soaring 36%," 26 June 2020 Rodgers didn't slow down after his virtuoso 2011 season. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "These are 50 of the best single seasons in Wisconsin sports history: Nos. 50-26," 8 June 2020 Hearing a young virtuoso like Kamaal Williams will make anyone’s heart smile. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "Georgia Anne Muldrow, Nubya Garcia and Hugh Masekela Share Jazzy Melodies In a Time of Chaos," 5 June 2020 By the ’90s, the city boasted one of the richest salsa scenes in the world, with players from all over Latin America and a variety of offerings — from traditional Cuban charanga to trombone-heavy conjuntos and virtuoso Latin jazz ensembles. Ernesto Lechner, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. boasts one of world’s most vibrant salsa scenes. The coronavirus may wipe it out," 15 Apr. 2020 The virtuoso who had played for presidents at the White House during his long and esteemed career died Wednesday at his home in Saddle River, New Jersey. Fox News, "Jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli dies from coronavirus," 3 Apr. 2020 And then there are those like the New York virtuoso Kathleen Supové, for whom a performance is just as likely to be a kinetic, theatrical spectacle., "Best bets from Datebook’s arts and entertainment critics and contributors," 28 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virtuoso.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of virtuoso

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for virtuoso

Italian, from virtuoso, adjective, virtuous, skilled, from Late Latin virtuosus virtuous, from Latin virtus

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The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

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Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for virtuoso


How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virtuoso

: a person who does something in a very skillful way especially : a very skillful musician


vir·​tu·​o·​so | \ ˌvər-chə-ˈwō-sō How to pronounce virtuoso (audio) , -zō \
plural virtuosos or virtuosi\ -​sē , -​zē \

Kids Definition of virtuoso

: a person who is an outstanding performer especially in music a piano virtuoso

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