vir·​tu·​o·​so | \ˌvər-chü-ˈō-(ˌ)sō, -(ˌ)zō\
plural virtuosos or virtuosi\ ˌvər-​chü-​ˈō-​(ˌ)sē , -​(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 , -​zik \ adjective
virtuoso adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for virtuoso


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


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

The Stradivarius stolen from the late violinist Roman Totenberg and miraculously found more than three decades later has a new life — under the chin of a budding 18-year-old virtuoso. Verena Dobnik, The Seattle Times, "Stolen Stradivarius found after decades comes to life again," 9 Oct. 2018 Inside its smoky confines, with diners shoulder to shoulder, chef Matt Abergel, a 31-year-old wonder raised in Calgary, Alberta, and formerly of Masa in New York City, works an oak-burning grill like a virtuoso. Mark Rozzo, Town & Country, "Hong Kong Foodie," 1 Nov. 2012 This was to witness a virtuoso in action, a master craftsman expressing himself better than anyone in the history of baseball. Dick Enberg,, "Dick Enberg Recounts His Special Encounter with Ted Williams," 15 May 2018 The film revolves around a virtuoso performer with the Czech Philharmonic, who has been banned from playing by the state. Linda Mcintosh,, "Rotary to host Wine, Brews & Buckaroos," 9 May 2018 Will, played by the long-underappreciated character virtuoso Ben Foster, has carried post-traumatic stress disorder home from his time in the military. Colin Covert, Detroit Free Press, "‘Leave No Trace’ is a moving father-daughter story," 12 July 2018 In addition to Jerry Garcia, who reprised his role as a pedal steel virtuoso, the recording featured his Grateful Dead bandmate Phil Lesh on bass and David Crosby on electric guitar. Jordan Runtagh,, "Graham Nash Tells the Wild Tales Behind His Most Enduring Songs," 29 June 2018 But recent speculation has centered on a Jan. 9, 1791, concert at the palace of the Austrian prince Johann Adam von Auersperg, featuring pianist Barbara Ployer, a virtuoso student of Mozart who premiered two other of his concerti. Matthew Guerrieri,, "Mozart for an era of political machinations," 28 June 2018 Liverpool would probably want a record breaking fee for Salah given his virtuoso performances this season, and the Reds may be skeptical of receiving Bale., "Report Claims Real Madrid President Is Eager to Sell Out-of-Favour Superstar to Liverpool," 29 Apr. 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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15 Nov 2018

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The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

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More Definitions for virtuoso



English Language Learners Definition of virtuoso

: a person who does something in a very skillful way; especially : a very skillful musician


vir·​tu·​o·​so | \ˌvər-chə-ˈwō-sō, -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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