Word of the Day : May 7, 2015


noun ver-choo-OH-soh


1 : someone skilled in or having a taste for the fine arts

2 : someone who excels in the technique of an art; especially : a highly skilled musical performer

3 : a person who has great skill at some endeavor

Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed the Italian noun virtuoso in the 1600s, but the Italian word had a former life as an adjective meaning both "virtuous" and "skilled." In English, virtuoso can be pluralized as either virtuosos or virtuosi, and it is often used attributively-that is, like an adjective before another noun, as in "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 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.


Peggy, a virtuoso on the piano, performed her first recital when she was only six years old.

"The night's loose theme was the '27 Club,' that small but storied group of well-known musicians who passed away at age 27-among them guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana wailer Kurt Cobain, blues legend Robert Johnson, and Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones." - Maura Johnston, Boston Globe, April 6, 2015

Test Your Memory

What is the name for a word created by combining other words, such as brunch and dramedy, and for a type of traveling bag with two compartments (our April 28th Word of the Day)? The answer is …


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