vir·​tu·​o·​so ˌvər-chü-ˈō-(ˌ)sō How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)
plural virtuosos or virtuosi ˌvər-chü-ˈō-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)
: one who excels in the technique of an art
Hailed far and wide as a virtuoso, perhaps the greatest glass artist of the 20th century …Jon Krakauer
especially : a highly skilled musical performer
a piano/violin virtuoso
a jazz virtuoso
But the heart of the program was Beethoven, the Quartet in E Minor, Opus 59, No. 2, "Razoumovsky." This is where the modern string quartet begins, quartets that became the property of virtuosos instead of amateurs … Ken Keaton
: a person who has exceptional skill, expertise, or talent at some endeavor
… instances in which young computer virtuosos occasionally cross the legal boundaries of remote computer systems.Scott Mace
Although hockey has been more team-oriented than any other major sport, through the years there have been virtuosos who packed the houses.Stan Fischler
: a person interested in the pursuit of knowledge in some specialized field and especially in the arts and sciences
[Samuel] Pepys was a characteristic product of his day, a virtuoso, a man sympathetic to every new trend in science and scholarship.William Matthews
: a person interested in or having a taste for the fine arts
In the eighteenth century, rich "virtuosos" like Richard Payne Knight and his friend Charles Townley assembled vast collections of everything from Roman sculpture to skewered beetles …Walter Kendrick
virtuoso adjective
a virtuoso cellist
virtuoso performances
Canto LXXX … provides a particularly virtuoso example of the poet's ear for dialects and languages. Richard Sieburth

Did you know?

English speakers borrowed the Italian noun virtuoso in the 1600s, but the Italian word had a former life as an adjective meaning both "virtuous" and "skilled." The first virtuosos (the English word can be pluralized as either virtuosos or, in the image of its Italian forbear, as virtuosi) 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 arts and to skilled musicians, specifically. In time, English speakers broadened virtuoso to apply to a person adept in any pursuit.

Examples of virtuoso in a Sentence

He's a real virtuoso in the kitchen.
Recent Examples on the Web Ziskin — like many of her micro-bakery peers, including local cake virtuosos Sasha Piligian and Rose Wilde — had approached cake decorating almost as floral arrangement. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 23 Sep. 2023 While all this is engrossing, Ferrari fundamentally is about the big race, where Mann’s virtuoso technique kicks in and cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt’s cameras put us at the wheel or in the path of the speeding roadsters to thrilling effect. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2023 A bit of autopilot takes over patches of the virtuoso Mazeppa and Feux follets, but Lim brings rhetorical flair to the second movement Molto vivace, and real poetry to Paysage. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 13 July 2023 There was always a virtuoso from Russia or Central Europe visiting the house. Douglas Starr, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Aug. 2023 Joseph Bologne – also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges – was a violin virtuoso, a skilled fencer and a favorite of Marie Antoinette. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 16 June 2023 Fluctuating between hard rock, aughts nu-metal, and pop rock, each member of the quintet is a virtuoso in her own right with more than a decade of practice in Band-Maid alone. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 5 Aug. 2023 Kendrick Lamar is tradition-fluent virtuoso and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2023 Roger Sprung, a banjo virtuoso and key figure in New York’s midcentury folk music revival, whose innovative picking and genre-mashing audacity earned him the unofficial title of the godfather of progressive bluegrass, died July 22 at his home in Newtown, Connecticut. Alex Williams,, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'virtuoso.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of virtuoso was in 1613


Dictionary Entries Near virtuoso

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


vir·​tu·​o·​so ˌvər-chə-ˈwō-sō How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)
plural virtuosos or virtuosi -sē How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)
: a person who excels in the performance of an art
especially : a skilled musician
virtuoso adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on virtuoso

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