[ver-too, vur-too]



or ver·tu

[ver-too, vur-too]


excellence or merit in objects of art, curios, and the like.
(used with a plural verb) such objects or articles collectively.
a taste for or knowledge of such objects.

Origin of virtu

1715–25; < Italian virtù, vertù virtue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vertu

Historical Examples of vertu

  • The vertu and use of coffee with regard to the plague and other infectious distempers.

    All About Coffee

    William H. Ukers

  • Curios, a corruption of curiosities; any articles of vertu brought from abroad.

    The Slang Dictionary

    John Camden Hotten

  • If there is no room on the lorries for any article of vertu, it goes on the tank.

    A Company of Tanks

    W. H. L. Watson

  • The china and articles of vertu are as rare as they are valuable.

  • Mrs Gaff furthermore displayed her taste for articles of vertu in her selection of chimney-piece ornaments.

    Shifting Winds

    R.M. Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for vertu



a variant spelling of virtu




a taste or love for curios or works of fine art; connoisseurship
such objects collectively
the quality of being rare, beautiful, or otherwise appealing to a connoisseur (esp in the phrases articles of virtu; objects of virtu)

Word Origin for virtu

C18: from Italian virtù; see virtue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for vertu



"excellence in an object of art, passion for works of art," 1722, from Italian virtu "excellence," from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "virtue" (see virtue). The same word as virtue, borrowed during a period when everything Italian was in vogue. Sometimes spelled vertu, after French, but this is unjustified, as this sense of the word is not in French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper