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 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 Her team clinched a second straight trophy in France in early July with a virtuoso performance in which the Americans did not lose a game. Andrew Das, New York Times, "Jill Ellis Will Step Down as U.S. Women’s Coach," 30 July 2019 Los Angeles is one of 1,000 cities that celebrate Make Music Day, an international holiday when novice musicians and virtuosos alike perform music in public spaces for free. Sara Cagle, latimes.com, "Enjoy outdoor events this weekend in SoCal, including a solstice celebration," 19 June 2019 An introduction to the Mighty Wurlitzer Jones' earliest memory of the Alabama Theatre goes back more than 40 years, when, as a teenager, he was invited to see and hear Argentine virtuoso Hector Olivera perform on the Mighty Wurlitzer. Bob Carlton | Bcarlton@al.com, al, "Meet the man who makes Christmas merry at the Alabama Theatre," 12 Dec. 2019 The audience seemed to collectively hold its breath as Ray Chen played Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, a virtuoso piece Chen addressed with vigor. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO review: A dynamic debut from violinist Ray Chen," 6 Dec. 2019 Written and directed by Joanna Hogg, an undersung virtuoso of domestic dramas, the film is a semi-autobiographical work that excavates her most brutal recollections without being cringeworthy. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Films of 2019," 5 Dec. 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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virtuoso. Accessed 29 January 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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