noun1 : someone skilled in or having a taste for the fine arts 2 : someonewho excels in the technique of an art; especially : a highly skilled musicalperformer 3 : a person who has greatskill at some endeavor
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 passedaway at age 27—among them guitarvirtuoso Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana wailerKurt Cobain, blues legend RobertJohnson, and Rolling Stonesfounding member Brian Jones.” — Maura Johnston, Boston Globe, April6, 2015
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 usedattributively—that is, like an adjectivebefore another noun, as in “a virtuosoperformer.” The first virtuosos wereindividuals of substantial knowledgeand learning (“great wits,” to quoteone 17th-century clergyman). The word was then transferred to thoseskilled in the arts, and by the 18thcentury it had acquired its specificsense applied to musicians. In the 20th century, English speakersbroadened virtuoso again to apply to a person skilled in any pursuit.