virtuoso

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from virtuoso

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for virtuoso

Synonyms

ace, adept, artist, authority, cognoscente, connoisseur, crackerjack (also crackajack), dab [chiefly British], dab hand [chiefly British], expert, fiend, geek, guru, hand, hotshot, maestro, master, maven (also mavin), meister, past master, proficient, scholar, shark, sharp, whiz, wizard

Antonyms

amateur, inexpert, nonexpert

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 festival’s sound system was constructed by Bill Hanley, who was seen as a virtuoso at the time and had created sound systems for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Woodstock Had Some of the Most Legendary Performances in History. But Many Attendees Never Heard a Single Note," 1 Aug. 2019 Eventually, Segal moved the celebration to August and expanded it to run the full month, a fitting tribute to the greatest alto saxophone virtuoso in jazz and a co-founder of the predominant jazz language of the 20th century. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "The Jazz Showcase celebrates Charlie Parker again ... for the 65th time," 30 July 2019 Crystal glasses and Tibetan bowls: Mauro’s clown friends perform melodies with a whistling virtuoso. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Cirque du Soleil brings ‘Corteo’ to BB&T Center | Video," 17 July 2019 Bassett pulled into the library with No. 4 in the back seat of his car, hoping to show the violin to Anna Karkowska, a virtuoso. Patrick Raycraft, courant.com, "Farmington’s Ed Bassett builds violins by hand, hour by hour, crafting masterpieces to last a lifetime," 11 July 2019 The season will begin with ukulele virtuoso Shimabukuro, performing at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Melissa Etheridge, Rosanne Cash among those headlining Poway OnStage’s 2019-20 season," 22 July 2019 No matter the outcome for the U.S. team, her virtuoso performance will reverberate. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "World Cup 2019: Megan Rapinoe Commands the Stage," 29 June 2019 The trumpeter Peter Evans and the pianist Cory Smythe, two of the most aggressively dazzling players in improvised music, recently released a short album inspired by another virtuoso American duo. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Wynton Marsalis Provokes Again With Head-Scratching ‘Ever Fonky Lowdown’," 2 July 2018 Known for her dramatic delivery and powerful quivering voice, Ybarra also is a virtuoso accordionist. Hector Saldana, ExpressNews.com, "Piñata Protest, restaurant musicians celebrated at Talón Fest in San Antonio," 13 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about virtuoso

Listen to Our Podcast about virtuoso

Statistics for virtuoso

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for virtuoso

The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for virtuoso

virtuoso

noun

English Language Learners Definition of virtuoso

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

virtuoso

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on virtuoso

What made you want to look up virtuoso? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!