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

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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

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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

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 Upon takeoff, Kendricks is a virtuoso in flight, maximizing the kinetic energy of his 16-foot pole and rocketing skyward toward crossbars nearly four feet above. Brian Pinelli, New York Times, "In Pole Vault, Sam Kendricks Is a Team Player," 4 July 2018 Barry was a virtuoso, averaging 30.6 points, 6.2 assists and 2.9 steals. Mark Dufrene, The Mercury News, "A timeline of 10 pulsating Oracle-era Warriors memories," 5 June 2019 Although General Hifter styles himself as a military virtuoso who forged Libya’s only disciplined army, in practice his Libyan National Army is a loose coalition of militias headed by strong-willed commanders. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Libyan Strongman’s Illness Stokes Fears of a Succession Feud," 19 Apr. 2018 Populated by geniuses and virtuosos, the stories are zanily cerebral and proceed with fractal precision. New York Times, "8 New Books We Recommend This Week," 7 June 2018 Even Broadway virtuoso Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to the late theater star. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' Star Georgia Engel Has Passed Away at the Age of 70," 16 Apr. 2019 The 17-year-old piano/Hammond B3 virtuoso’s palpable excitement about making his festival debut seeded a very robust performance. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Anthony Hamilton, Snarky Puppy and More Rock the Playboy Jazz Festival," 10 June 2018 The venue books acts like the Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui and the Hawaiian guitar virtuoso Willie K, and offers stage time to emerging local musicians. New York Times, "36 Hours in Napa Valley," 21 June 2018

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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Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for virtuoso

The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

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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

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