adept

1 of 2

adjective

: thoroughly proficient : expert
an adept negotiator
He's adept at fixing computers.
adeptly adverb
She dealt with the changes adeptly.
adeptness noun

adept

2 of 2

noun

ad·​ept ˈa-ˌdept How to pronounce adept (audio) ə-ˈdept How to pronounce adept (audio)
a-ˈdept
: a highly skilled or well-trained individual : expert
an adept at chess
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Example Sentences

Adjective 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 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 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 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 He's adept in several languages. he's an adept pitcher, and the team is lucky to have him Noun 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 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 even by the standards of Washington, he's an adept at political intrigue and power politics See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
He is particularly adept at wielding a sledgehammer. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 30 Nov. 2022 Stoneham is adept at finding and exploiting favorable matchups in the opposition’s pre-snap formation. Cam Kerry, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Nov. 2022 He has also been adept at reading defenses and shifting protections pre-snap, one reason UW has surrendered just seven sacks (fourth in the country). oregonlive, 11 Nov. 2022 Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was adept at painting watercolors, as is their son, now King Charles III. Kelly Crow, WSJ, 11 Sep. 2022 All-Rookie Team — is a smaller wing player, she is still adept at poking away balls in off-ball rotation and disrupting passes into the post to keep any of the Sun’s star centers from receiving easy looks down low. Shakeia Taylor, Chicago Tribune, 28 Aug. 2022 While film acting is a new skill for Koy, the comedian is adept at his impressions of his family members, who inspire much of the humor in his three Netflix comedy specials. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Aug. 2022 Taiwan’s business community, led by giants like iPhone maker Foxconn and chip manufacturer TSMC, is adept at navigating U.S.-China and cross-strait relations. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 2 Aug. 2022 The genial attendants are adept at making suggestions. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 22 July 2022
Noun
Joking his way through age, career confusion, and surviving — artistry intact — seems to have inspired 80-year-old Scorsese, a rock-and-roll adept who nonetheless foundered shockingly with the mockumentary Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story. Armond White, National Review, 14 Oct. 2022 Andela is now accepting applications from senior developers across the continent adept in the most in-demand web frameworks and program languages. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, 1 July 2020 Last season, Brown averaged 20.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists while proving adept at penetrating and getting to the free throw line. Bruce Pascoe, azcentral, 6 Apr. 2020 Trump, another New York billionaire adept in handling the hometown press, took particular glee in watching Bloomberg's performance Wednesday, two people who spoke to him said. Anchorage Daily News, 21 Feb. 2020 Unlike Greta Gerwig, who reimagined Little Women and gave it a contemporary subtext, de Wilde and Catton deliver a largely faithful and unchallenging adaptation, beautifully staged and sharply acted by a cast adept at balancing wit and romance. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Feb. 2020 From those who know him well, Calhoun gets high marks as both a smooth operator, adept at making the numbers work, and as a kind of Mr. Fix-It. Erik Sherman, Fortune, 13 Jan. 2020 The Bills addressed some of Allen’s needs by adding John Brown, a dangerous deep threat, and Cole Beasley, who’s adept at getting open on short and intermediate routes. Bennie Contrino, Sports Illustrated, 14 June 2019 As ever, Mr Putin proved adept at taking advantage of American mistakes. The Economist, 24 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adept.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

derivative of adept entry 2

Noun

borrowed from New Latin adeptus "one who has attained a high degree of proficiency (as in alchemy or hermetic philosophy)," going back to Latin, "having attained," past participle of adipīscī "to arrive at, attain," from ad- ad- + apīscī "to seize hold of, obtain," perhaps an inchoative derivative from the base of apere "to join" — more at apt entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1698, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1674, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of adept was in 1674

Dictionary Entries Near adept

Cite this Entry

“Adept.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adept. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

adept 1 of 2

noun

ad·​ept ˈad-ˌept How to pronounce adept (audio)
: a highly skilled or well-trained individual : expert

adept

2 of 2

adjective

: very good at something
adeptly adverb
adeptness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on adept

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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