Definition of virtu in English:


Syllabification: vir·tu
Pronunciation: /ˌvərˈto͞o
(also vertu)


  • 1Knowledge of or expertise in the fine arts.
  • 1.1Curios or objets d’art collectively.
  • 2 literary The good qualities inherent in a person or thing.
    More example sentences
    • Even in a civil republic, leaders would emerge who had the quality of virtu, who could negotiate with fortune, and who understood political necessity.
    • He singles out two essential methods of organizing home affairs in such a way as to instil the quality of virtu in the whole body of the citizens.
    • Cavendish is appropriating Machiavellian virtu as a female as well as male quality.


article (or object) of virtu

An article that is interesting because of its antiquity, beauty, quality of workmanship, etc..
More example sentences
  • Here he assembled a large but indifferent collection of objects of virtu, prints, and curiosities, several of which were purchased in Italy by Mann, which attracted fashionable attention.
  • These may be divided into three sometimes overlapping categories: relics, souvenirs, and objects of (sometimes easy) virtu.
  • The paintings hung in a small cabinet in which were also located a number of antiquities and objets de vertu, in a heterogeneous arrangement like that of a wonder collection.


early 18th century: from Italian virtù 'virtue'; the variant vertu is an alteration, as if from French.

More definitions of virtu

Definition of virtu in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody