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

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

Likewise, Tepper says, under favorable conditions, a real virtuoso of yelling can go through their entire work life without ever feeling the need to be mean. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 In 1966, Pop left Ann Arbor for Chicago, and, through Erlewine’s connections, got a gig playing with Big Walter Horton, a harmonica virtuoso who had moved to Chicago from Memphis in the nineteen-fifties. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "The Survival of Iggy Pop," 26 Aug. 2019 The parade of ingenious absurdity, which premieres Saturday, is only the latest strange offering from Torres, a virtuoso of extraterrestrial humor. Los Angeles Times, "In Julio Torres’ defiantly unique comedy, everyone — and everything — has a story," 9 Aug. 2019 The festival’s sound system was constructed by Bill Hanley, who was seen as a virtuoso at the time and had created sound systems for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Woodstock Had Some of the Most Legendary Performances in History. But Many Attendees Never Heard a Single Note," 1 Aug. 2019 Eventually, Segal moved the celebration to August and expanded it to run the full month, a fitting tribute to the greatest alto saxophone virtuoso in jazz and a co-founder of the predominant jazz language of the 20th century. Howard Reich,, "The Jazz Showcase celebrates Charlie Parker again ... for the 65th time," 30 July 2019 Crystal glasses and Tibetan bowls: Mauro’s clown friends perform melodies with a whistling virtuoso. Rod Stafford Hagwood,, "Cirque du Soleil brings ‘Corteo’ to BB&T Center | Video," 17 July 2019 Bassett pulled into the library with No. 4 in the back seat of his car, hoping to show the violin to Anna Karkowska, a virtuoso. Patrick Raycraft,, "Farmington’s Ed Bassett builds violins by hand, hour by hour, crafting masterpieces to last a lifetime," 11 July 2019 The season will begin with ukulele virtuoso Shimabukuro, performing at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Melissa Etheridge, Rosanne Cash among those headlining Poway OnStage’s 2019-20 season," 22 July 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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6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for virtuoso

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 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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What made you want to look up virtuoso? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


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