vir·​tu·​os·​i·​ty | \ ˌvər-chü-ˈä-sə-tē How to pronounce virtuosity (audio) \
plural virtuosities

Definition of virtuosity

1 : great technical skill (as in the practice of a fine art)
2 : a taste for or interest in virtu

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Did You Know?

Virtuosity is used particularly to describe musicians, but also often for writers, actors, dancers, and athletes. A virtuoso is a highly skilled performer, and a virtuoso performance is one that astonishes the audience by its feats. In ancient Greece the cities would hold male competitions in acrobatics, conjuring, public reciting, blowing the trumpet, and acting out scenes from Homer's epics, the winners of which would have been praised as virtuous, or "full of manly virtues".

Examples of virtuosity in a Sentence

Her virtuosity on the piano is amazing.
Recent Examples on the Web While the finale’s solo interludes proved a fine showcase for the harpsichordist’s virtuosity, his instrument wasn’t built to get into a shouting match with modern string instruments. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Egarr opens SPCO tenure with some bracing Bach," 18 Oct. 2019 Fingers a-flutter, Marsalis confidently flew through composer Jacques Ibert’s flamboyant solo section — making sure his virtuosity was that of musicianship, not showboating. Matthew J. Palm,, "Branford Marsalis brings lyricism, dexterity to Orlando Philharmonic opener | Review," 29 Sep. 2019 Eleven performers will participate, adopting Selwyn’s lyrical style, which mixes a refined virtuosity with emotional theatricality, and creates a sense of abstract character and community among her dancers. Brian Schaefer, New York Times, "7 Dance Performances to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 27 Feb. 2020 Amanda Shires Amanda Shires could easily have made a career doing fringe country music with a lovely voice that sounds like a wearier Dolly Parton and a melancholy virtuosity on the fiddle. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Preview Picks: Rex Orange County, ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and more," 18 Feb. 2020 Soloist Olga Kern took the stage for Sergei Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, a youthful gantlet of virtuosity. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, "Leonard Slatkin gives himself a 75th birthday present: a reunion with the NSO," 6 Dec. 2019 Here it was played on marimba, which of course eliminated both the harpsichord’s singular timbre and its historical associations, leaving a virtuosity that was not enough. Alan Artner,, "Ligeti series continues with a lark, a workout and a rare performance," 13 Feb. 2018 Twyla’s role didn’t demand the hammy virtuosity that powered the series past cutesiness; sometimes the character felt like a throwaway. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "The “Schitt’s Creek” Series Finale: The Vindication of Twyla," 8 Apr. 2020 It is well known that Kissinger admired Metternich for his urbanity and virtuosity as a statesman. A. Wess Mitchell, National Review, "Conservatives and Geopolitical Change," 2 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virtuosity.' 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 virtuosity

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for virtuosity

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The first known use of virtuosity was in 1673

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Statistics for virtuosity

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtuosity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce virtuosity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virtuosity

formal : great ability or skill shown by a musician, performer, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on virtuosity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for virtuosity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with virtuosity

Spanish Central: Translation of virtuosity

Nglish: Translation of virtuosity for Spanish Speakers

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