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

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 At ease among virtuosos like Jim Hall and Julian Lage, Cline can grasp the spirit and vocabulary of modern jazz, and then project them at the limits of the genre. oregonlive, "29 February concerts to love for Portland’s best live music," 28 Jan. 2020 But most interesting was the restless edge in much of the virtuoso passagework, as if Tetzlaff was impatient to discharge the fireworks and get back to weaving lyrical lines in and out of the orchestra. Washington Post, "At the Kennedy Center, Eschenbach casts the NSO in standard but staunch roles," 25 Jan. 2020 Peart’s virtuoso drumming style transformed Rush from a straight-ahead rock group into one of the most successful and enduring bands of the 1970s progressive-rock movement. Will Collier, National Review, "RIP Neil Peart, 1952–2020," 11 Jan. 2020 Bronfman isn’t the go-to artist just for big, virtuoso showstoppers. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra starts off musical 2020 with winning, eclectic array," 10 Jan. 2020 In June, the bluegrass community was stunned and heartbroken by the sudden loss of Jeff Austin, the virtuoso mandolin player known for his work with Nederland’s Yonder Mountain String Band. Beth Rankin, The Know, "The Know’s most popular arts, entertainment, outdoors and dining stories of 2019," 28 Dec. 2019 Barry Tuckwell, an Australian virtuoso of the French horn whose mastery over his fiendishly difficult instrument brought him international renown as the preeminent hornist of his era, died Jan. 16 at a hospital in Melbourne. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Barry Tuckwell, Australian virtuoso of the French horn, dies at 88," 18 Jan. 2020 Barry Tuckwell, an Australian virtuoso of the French horn whose mastery over his fiendishly difficult instrument brought him international renown as the preeminent hornist of his era, died Jan. 16 at a hospital in Melbourne. Emily Langer, BostonGlobe.com, "Barry Tuckwell, Australian virtuoso of the French horn, dies at 88," 18 Jan. 2020 Grime, the musical genre that combines electronic dance beats with jungle and reggae influences, accompanied by fast, virtuoso rapping in distinctively British cadences, originated in East London, in the early two-thousands. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "Kano’s Second Act," 18 Nov. 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.

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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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The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virtuoso. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for virtuoso

virtuoso

noun
How to pronounce virtuoso (audio)

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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