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June 12, 2021

Word of the Day: Virtuoso

2 CQ

Word of the Day : June 12, 2021

virtuoso \ver-choo-OH-soh\ noun


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

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." The first virtuosos (the English word can be pluralized as either virtuosos or, in the image of its Italian forbear, as virtuosi) 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 to skilled musicians, specifically. In time, English speakers broadened virtuoso to apply to a person adept in any pursuit.

Aired June 12, 2021

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