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 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-​ˈä-​sik , -​ˈō-​ How to pronounce virtuoso (audio) , -​zik \ adjective
virtuosically \ ˌvər-​chü-​ˈä-​si-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce virtuoso (audio) , -​ˈō-​ , -​zi-​ \ adverb
Later on, the voice became more assured, but it always remained no more than an impressive voice, expertly and virtuosically executing its assigned role. — Edward Rothstein a wonderful character dancer from the '70s, when American Ballet Theatre treasured comics, grumps, and eccentrics who could also dance virtuosically. — Marcia B. Siegel
virtuoso adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for virtuoso



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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 quartet performs chamber works written by Puccini, Strauss, and Schubert on a historic set of Stradivari instruments once owned by virtuoso Niccolò Paganini. oregonlive, "5 things to do this week: Goldmund Quartet, ‘Triggered Life,’ and Micro Opera Festival," 17 Mar. 2021 In an epic national semifinal showdown pitting one virtuoso against another, South Carolina came agonizingly close to hitting the final glorious note. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Mike Finger: In thrilling fashion, Stanford's symphony hits final note," 2 Apr. 2021 The Indian tabla virtuoso and ambassador-at-large for world music returns in this virtual concert presented by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. Los Angeles Times, "19 culture picks: ‘Play’ with Keanu Reeves, ‘Afrofuturism’ with Sterling K. Brown," 25 Mar. 2021 Other notable Gibson ES-175D players include Yes virtuoso Steve Howe and jazzer Pat Metheny. Matt Wake |, al, "Guns N’ Roses icon’s ‘Appetite for Destruction’ era guitar to be auctioned, site says," 17 Mar. 2021 After a performance at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, Yolande Bruce was sitting in on an after-show jam session when Roy Hargrove, the American trumpet virtuoso who then was still on the rise, came up to her. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "Gifted, beloved Minnesota singer Yolande Bruce won fans all over the globe," 9 Mar. 2021 With musical life on hiatus, a horn virtuoso tackles the COVID pandemic. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: California has used only a third of its available vaccines as case count hits record," 5 Jan. 2021 Now, the virtuoso and acclaimed jazz pianist is up for a Grammy thanks to his Viento Y Tiempo album, live from the Blue Note Tokyo, with fellow Cuban artist and lifelong friend Aymée Nuviola. Griselda Flores, Billboard, "Jazz Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba on 'Viento Y Tiempo' & How Afro-Cuban Culture Has Inspired His Music," 10 Feb. 2021 And while Escola has a knack for female characters, their repertoire includes men too, like Toby, a basic bro who also happens to be an undiscovered musical theater virtuoso. Meredith Blake Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "New York had Cole Escola down and out. Now they’re part of comedy’s queer new wave," 21 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for virtuoso

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The first known use of virtuoso was in 1651

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 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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