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 More importantly than that, however, let history always remember the fearless heart inside this virtuoso. Joseph Goodman |, al, "The ultimate teammate, Alabama Heisman winner DeVonta Smith dazzled with football artistry," 6 Jan. 2021 Music virtuoso Cory Henry announced a holiday album earlier this month called Christmas With You. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "Yemi Alade Presents Essence‘s Official Christmakwanzakah Playlist," 25 Dec. 2020 The irrepressible violinist, one of the world’s great instrumental virtuosos, also proved a virtuoso of moods, from exhilaration to doom. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Best classical music of 2020: 10 heroes who came to our rescue in a horrendous year," 8 Dec. 2020 The guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god. Anchorage Daily News, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 Maradona was the platonic ideal of a pibe, all virtuoso skill and impetuous cunning. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Most Human of Immortals," 25 Nov. 2020 This rock guitar virtuoso is another artist who left us too soon. Hendrix died of asphyxia after becoming intoxicated with barbiturates in 1970. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "'The Crown' offers some valuable life lessons," 19 Nov. 2020 Those few seconds of wordless resignation were a quick flurry of notes bent blue, and Davis played them like a virtuoso. New York Times, "More Great," 10 Dec. 2020 Criticizing the Rays for virtuoso wonkery sounds a little like criticizing another iconic American innovator, MacGyver. Jason Gay, WSJ, "You Don’t Have to Love the Tampa Bay Rays. You Just Shouldn’t Hate Them.," 22 Oct. 2020

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

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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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