\ ˈdeft How to pronounce deft (audio) \

Definition of deft

: characterized by facility and skill the photographer's deft use of lighting the deft fingers of the trumpeter

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Other Words from deft

deftly adverb
deftness \ ˈdef(t)-​nəs How to pronounce deftness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for deft

dexterous, adroit, deft mean ready and skilled in physical movement. dexterous implies expertness with consequent facility and quickness in manipulation. unrolled the sleeping bag with a dexterous toss adroit implies dexterity but usually also stresses resourcefulness or artfulness or inventiveness. the magician's adroit response to the failure of her prop won applause deft emphasizes lightness, neatness, and sureness of touch or handling. a surgeon's deft manipulation of the scalpel

Examples of deft in a Sentence

The photographer is known for her deft use of lighting. a luthier whose deft craftsmanship is prized by violinists the world over
Recent Examples on the Web With deft use of social media, Mr Najib has reinvented himself as a man of the people. The Economist, "Banyan Malaysia’s reformist government has not put an end to sleaze," 23 Jan. 2020 DeCosta has certainly made deft moves in building a roster that has Baltimore (14-2) entering the AFC divisional playoff against Tennessee on Saturday night — the one-year anniversary of the GM switch — with a 12-game winning streak. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As Ravens ready for playoff run, Ozzie Newsome's influence is undeniable," 9 Jan. 2020 Mix said that Gillman made deft use of the versatile Lincoln, who was listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, and that the coach’s designs were integral to the 51-10 rout. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Keith Lincoln, former Chargers and AFL great, dies at 80," 27 July 2019 Target just rolled out new lines in the lingerie and sleepwear category – a deft move at a time when Victoria’s Secret is on the skids and closing dozens of locations. Sarah Halzack | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Target Silences the Doubters," 5 Mar. 2019 King started the second quarter and quickly scored inside after a deft pump fake created an opening. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons dominated by Kyrie Irving, lose ground to Brooklyn Nets with OT loss," 26 Jan. 2020 But his deft handling of Trigger, a battered 1969 Martin, was right on target. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Want to see Willie Nelson in Birmingham? Tickets on sale today," 17 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, Byrne, who has proved herself a deft comedian in projects like Bridesmaids and Neighbors, is asked to live in a constant state of near-hysteria, her ambition often painted as a shrewish attribute. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Like a Boss is a female buddy comedy in need of a serious makeover: Review," 9 Jan. 2020 Martens had given the European champion the lead after just 16 minutes with a deft flick from a corner, but Japan, which has taken time to grow into this World Cup, soon began to find its feet and produced an equalizer just before halftime. George Ramsay And Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Late Netherlands penalty breaks Japan's hearts at Women's World Cup," 25 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of deft

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deft

perhaps continuing Middle English daffte, daft, defte "well-mannered, gentle, dull, foolish" — more at daft

Note: Rather than being derived directly from Middle English, Modern English deft may go back to an unattested Old English *gedefte (with umlaut), with a meaning "fit, ready" developing to "apt, skilfull"; the sense shift is otherwise difficult to account for, though the lack of any certain attestation of deft in the sense "skillful" before the later 16th century makes this scenario hypothetical.

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Time Traveler for deft

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The first known use of deft was in the 15th century

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Statistics for deft

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deft.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deft?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=deft0001. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for deft

How to pronounce deft (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of deft

: skillful and clever
: able to do something quickly and accurately
\ ˈdeft How to pronounce deft (audio) \
defter; deftest

Kids Definition of deft

: quick and skillful in action He cut hair with deft fingers.

Other Words from deft

deftly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on deft

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deft

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deft

Spanish Central: Translation of deft

Nglish: Translation of deft for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deft for Arabic Speakers

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