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-​ˈä-​sik , -​ˈō-​ How to pronounce virtuosic (audio) , -​zik \ adjective
virtuosically \ ˌvər-​chü-​ˈä-​si-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce virtuosically (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

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 Eddie Van Halen was a guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest acts. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Who’s left and who’s leaving?," 7 Oct. 2020 Eddie Van Halen, a guitar virtuoso whose pyrotechnic riffs and solos expanded the vocabulary of hard rock, inspired legions of headbanging imitators and propelled his band Van Halen to four turbulent decades of stadium-rock stardom, died Oct. 6. Washington Post, "Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso with a shimmering sound, dies at 65," 6 Oct. 2020 But he was chiefly known as the personal tuner for the famously eccentric virtuoso Glenn Gould, whose pianos Mr. Edquist nurtured from the 1960s to the early ’80s, making exacting adjustments that shaped the sounds heard on Gould’s recordings. James Barron, New York Times, "Verne Edquist, Virtuoso Piano Tuner, Is Dead at 89," 1 Oct. 2020 Encourage your little virtuoso to grow their passions with these great art sets. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Art sets to encourage your tiny Picasso," 22 Sep. 2020 Chelsea metal virtuoso Jacob Bunton does dancefloor-goth in new band also boasting L.A. Guns/Faster Pussycat guitarist Ace Von Johnson. Matt Wake |, al, "20 new songs by Alabama musicians to know," 26 Aug. 2020 In 1912, Peking opera virtuoso Mei Lanfang adapted the poem for the stage. Martin Tsai, Washington Post, "The live-action ‘Mulan’ is not the first retelling of the legend. Or the second. Or the sixth.," 4 Sep. 2020 The virtuoso who could bedazzle comedy-club audiences with riffs on every subject under the sun certainly qualified on that score. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Robin’s Wish’ Review: The Punchline Was Courage," 27 Aug. 2020 The drivers of Hungary’s economic performance also belie the notion of Orban as an economic-policy virtuoso. Dalibor Rohac, National Review, "Not Just a Lovable Rogue," 26 Aug. 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

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtuoso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for virtuoso


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


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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