Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A musician with masterly ability, technique, or personal style.
  • n. A person with masterly skill or technique in the arts.
  • n. A person with a strong interest in the fine arts, especially in antiquities.
  • n. Archaic A very learned person.
  • adj. Exhibiting the ability, technique, or personal style of a virtuoso: a virtuoso performance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person (especially a musician) with masterly ability, technique, or personal style
  • adj. Exhibiting the ability of a virtuoso

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One devoted to virtu; one skilled in the fine arts, in antiquities, and the like; a collector or ardent admirer of curiosities, etc.
  • n. A performer on some instrument, as the violin or the piano, who excels in the technical part of his art; a brilliant concert player.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An experimental philosopher; a student of things by direct observation.
  • n. One who has an instructed appreciation of artistic excellence; a person skilled in or having a critical taste for any of the elegant arts, as painting, sculpture, etc.; one having special knowledge or skill in antiquities, curiosities, and the like.
  • n. One who is a master of the mechanical part of a fine art, especially music, and who makes display of his dexterity. See virtuosity, 2.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having or revealing supreme mastery or skill
  • n. a musician who is a consummate master of technique and artistry
  • n. someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field

Etymologies

Italian, skilled, of great worth, virtuoso, from Late Latin virtuōsus, virtuous, from Latin virtūs, excellence; see virtue.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian, from Late Latin virtuosus, "virtuous", from Latin virtus, "excellence". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mr. Hamelin finds the word "virtuoso," which is invariably applied to his playing, a somewhat derogatory descriptive that implies mere showmanship, he said during a recent interview in a practice room at Mannes.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Jourdan Urbach, a violin virtuoso who discovered when he was performing in hospitals at seven years old that music could stimulate the brain and spark healing in children with neurological problems.

    Stephanie March: Meet the 2010 World of Children Awards Winners: Extraordinary Individuals Improving the Lives of Many

  • Segerstrom will also host German violin virtuoso Julia Fischer on the 12th and Les Violins du Roy in a Baroque program on the 20th.

    In the Wings - February

  • Rosas becomes a violin virtuoso and a prolific composer.

    Mexico this month - January

  • (Seen here, Caramoor co-founder and Theremin virtuoso Lucie Rosen.)

    Boing Boing

  • Now, how often do we hear the violin virtuoso saying that his mother made him practice?

    USATODAY.com - As Open begins, Tiger's stars in perfect alignment

  • Cellini uses the word virtuoso in many senses, but always more with reference to intellectual than moral qualities.

    XXX

  • Kottke became known as a virtuoso via his innovative finger-picking technique, and he plays the guitar with an ease that makes it seem like an extension of his body.

    Austinist

  • The British team, currently playing sYnck for the Extreme Masters qualifier, started the game against the Estonian side under the name virtuoso, and speculation suggesting that 4Kings had parted ways with the team immediately surfaced.

    GotFrag eSports Stories

  • It's ambitious - Rubin refers to guitarist Nathan Howdeshell as a "virtuoso" - but crucially it still sounds like a Gossip record, albeit one made with time, care and money.

    Culture | guardian.co.uk

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I once heard Peter Schickele in a P. D. Q. Bach performance render this as "virtuasuoso".

    September 29, 2011

  • Nice Word! Virtuoso. I'm planning on mastering the skill of audio engineering involving music, so the definition of this word definitely caught my eye! I'm still on the 10,000 hour rule, practicing every day so hopefully I can get better in the field of audio engineering.

    September 28, 2011

  • A major US newspaper has called Christopher Parkening “the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument.”

    March 2, 2011