\ 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 Garland has taken some tips from teammate Collin Sexton, who continues to display a deft scoring touch around the rim. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Darius Garland has identified the next step in rookie progression -- developing his floater," 26 Nov. 2019 Upright puts its deft touch on this hopless beer, which is made with lemongrass, Sichuan peppercorns, hyssop and orange peel then blended after aging in numerous barrels. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "I’ve visited 40 Portland breweries so far in 2019; here is my favorite beer from each," 22 Nov. 2019 Heller’s deft touch is what makes the movie succeed. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Understands About Mister Rogers," 21 Nov. 2019 Meoni hammered a winner and Weatherley’s deft touch took Friendswood to a 23-22 lead. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Friendswood advances to state volleyball tournament," 16 Nov. 2019 His assist for Ainsley Maitland-Niles was phenomenal and his deft touch in the build up to Gabriel Martinelli's second was something of pure beauty. SI.com, "Why Mesut Ozil Must Start for Arsenal Against Wolves," 1 Nov. 2019 Darryl Sutter’s iron-fist approach lifted the Kings to two Stanley Cup championships, but lacked the deft touch to turn them into a dynasty. Los Angeles Times, "Kings’ opening week is a mix of patience, growth and frustration," 11 Oct. 2019 The show falls under the aegis of mega-producer Greg Berlanti, whose deft touch overseeing the DC-CW-Warner Bros. portfolio has been impressive in its scope, and notable for its ambitious, tender-loving approach to the material. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Batwoman' and 'Nancy Drew' strike familiar notes on CW," 4 Oct. 2019 Readers relatively new to the topic will applaud Blumenthal’s skills at biographical portraiture, incisive evocation of political infighting and deft touch with the compelling episode. Gary W. Gallagher, Washington Post, "How Lincoln triumphed amid division and demagogues," 26 Sep. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deft

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deft.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deftly. Accessed 17 January 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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