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 virtuoso (audio) , -​(ˌ)zē \

Definition of virtuoso

1 : 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
2 : 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
3 : 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
4 : 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

Other Words from virtuoso

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for virtuoso



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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 Lafleur was the stylish virtuoso who spoiled the Stanley Cup dreams of kids all over New England in the late 1970s. Matt Porter,, 23 Apr. 2022 In this intimate show, the audience will find out how an extraordinary 13-year-old boy became the reigning virtuoso of the violin. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 Chris Thile, singer-songwriter and virtuoso mandolinist and member of Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers, will perform a concert to benefit pediatric cancer research at New York’s City Winery on June 1. Jem Aswad, Variety, 3 May 2022 The orchestra’s program will include Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Seventh Symphony and Ukrainian virtuoso Anna Fedorova playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Ginger Adams Otis, WSJ, 3 May 2022 Long overshadowed by her older brother, the tragic virtuoso Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska (1891-1972) was also an important dancer and choreographer, and this scrupulous biography illuminates the formidable scope of her accomplishments. The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Classical piano virtuoso by Lisa Weiss, klezmer and jazz woodwind by Seth Kibel, mandolin by Joel-Michael-Schwartz, and hammered dulcimer player and old-time fiddle by Ken Kolodner. John Coffren, Baltimore Sun, 21 Apr. 2022 Sharma, a virtuoso on the India hand drums known as tabla, gets to do a short preshow set while the house lights are still on in the auditorium. Christopher Arnott,, 5 Mar. 2022 The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs an in-person and livestreamed concert featuring piano virtuoso Alexander Toradze. oregonlive, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of virtuoso

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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 1613

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for virtuoso


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

More from Merriam-Webster on virtuoso

Nglish: Translation of virtuoso for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of virtuoso for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about virtuoso


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