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noun ad·ept \ˈa-ˌdept, ə-ˈdept, a-ˈ\

Simple Definition of adept

  • : a highly skilled or well-trained person : someone who is adept at something

Full Definition of adept

  1. :  a highly skilled or well-trained individual :  expert <an adept at chess>

Examples of adept

  1. Once safely back in Paris, and having attained his majority, the poet squandered his inheritance with an adept's fervor … —Nicholas Delbanco, Harper's, September 2004

  2. They recruited computational chemists, software engineers, AI experts, and various other computer adepts, all of whom put their monster minds together to create an automated reasoning system that could inspect vast amounts of chemical data quickly and point the finger at potential new drug compounds. —Ed Regis, Wired, June 2000

  3. <even by the standards of Washington, he's an adept at political intrigue and power politics>

Origin of adept

New Latin adeptus alchemist who has attained the knowledge of how to change base metals into gold, from Latin, past participle of adipisci to attain, from ad- + apisci to reach — more at apt

First Known Use: 1709



adjective ad·ept \ə-ˈdept also ˈa-ˌdept\

Simple Definition of adept

  • : very good at doing something that is not easy

Full Definition of adept

  1. :  thoroughly proficient :  expert <adept at fixing cars>

adept·ly play \ə-ˈdep-(t)lē, a-\ adverb
adept·ness play \-ˈdep(t)-nəs\ noun

Examples of adept

  1. Madison, Jefferson's lifelong friend, collaborator, and political ally, was quizzical and skeptical. His mind was less capacious and less elevated than Jefferson's, but more … original, and instinctively contrary. Less learned than Jefferson, his verbal skills inferior, he was almost pedantically alert to inner complications, and so, though less adept a politician, he was more consistent. —Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew, 2003

  2. Three small figurines carved of ivory from mammoth tusks have been found in a cave in southwestern Germany, providing stronger evidence that human ancestors were already adept at figurative art more than 30,000 years ago, an archaeologist is reporting today. —John Noble Wilford, New York Times, 18 Dec. 2003

  3. The Angels exploited center-fielder Bernie Williams's weak throwing arm in the division series against the Yankees and are adept at scampering from first to third on hits to the outfield. —Jack Curry, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2002

  4. Barnum was especially adept at pulling back one curtain after another, keeping the audience in a state of panting uncertainty, perpetually postponing the revelation of what was “really” going on. —Jackson Lears, New Republic, 12 Nov. 2001

  5. He's adept in several languages.

  6. <he's an adept pitcher, and the team is lucky to have him>

Origin of adept

(see 1adept)

First Known Use: circa 1691

Synonym Discussion of adept

proficient, adept, skilled, skillful, expert mean having great knowledge and experience in a trade or profession. proficient implies a thorough competence derived from training and practice <proficient in translating foreign languages>. adept implies special aptitude as well as proficiency <adept at doing long division>. skilled stresses mastery of technique <a skilled surgeon>. skillful implies individual dexterity in execution or performance <skillful drivers>. expert implies extraordinary proficiency and often connotes knowledge as well as technical skill <expert in the evaluation of wines>.

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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