deft

adjective
\ ˈdeft \

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 \ 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

Through the artist’s deft chiaroscuro handling, the scene’s remarkably rendered surfaces — paper, wood, cloth, hair, stubbly chicken skin — variously glow. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018 The Knights managed to acquire speed and talent thanks to general manager George McPhee’s deft handling of the expansion draft. Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "Vegas Golden Knights are four wins from the NHL’s 'Miracle On Ice'," 21 May 2018 The Nigerians, who had looked so deft and athletic in their 2-0 win over Iceland last week, had no answers through the first half. Matthew Futterman And Andrew Das, New York Times, "Argentina Finds World Cup Salvation in Thriller Over Nigeria," 27 June 2018 Halsey’s deft installation blends delightful improv with eloquent formal rigor. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "Lauren Halsey takes a fantastic voyage in MOCA's 'we still here, there'," 24 May 2018 The exhibits, created by Haley Sharpe Design, are deft and clear. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "A New Gateway to the West," 2 July 2018 On the surface, the move into the private label business (in which goods are sold under the retailer’s name rather than that of an outside vendor) appears to be a deft move by Amazon. New York Times, "Amazon, the Brand Buster," 23 June 2018 Both squads have surrounded their third-year quarterbacks with veterans acquired through various trades and deft free-agency moves. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Predicting Every NFL Team’s 2018 Season Record," 7 June 2018 The cultural mash-up is so deft as to be almost unnoticeable. Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "How does Fenway Eventide stack up to the original?," 4 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near deft

defrock

defrost

defroster

deft

defterdar

defunct

defunction

Statistics for deft

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for deft

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

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More Definitions for deft

deft

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of deft

: skillful and clever

: able to do something quickly and accurately

deft

adjective
\ ˈdeft \
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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Comments on deft

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