\ 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

Other Words from deft

deftly adverb
deftness \ ˈdef(t)-​nəs How to pronounce deft (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 Mohammed is a lawyer, businessman, and deft political operator. David Frum, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 The British monarchy hasn’t faced such a threat, thanks in large part to victory in two world wars and deft management by Queen Elizabeth and her father, King George VI, before her. Max Colchester And Stephen Fidler, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 And with minimalism, deft camerawork, and and an all-time-great score, John Carpenter set the industry standard for slasher films that remains to this day. Will Harris,, 6 Sep. 2022 There was more on the way even after Tischer executed a deft fake on an option in the first quarter that turned into a thrilling 55-yard touchdown run. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Chicago Tribune, 3 Sep. 2022 Dennis Burke is a big burly presence with flashing eyes under bushy eyebrows, a man of obvious personal force, intellectual aspiration, and famously deft hands., 30 Aug. 2022 Once again, Paretsky demonstrates the staying power of her iconic character as well as her own deft storytelling skills. Karen Macpherson, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2022 Think Miami Vice’s neon blues and pinks, or flamingos meet the Parrotheads of a Jimmy Buffett concert, but all brought together with deft modern design. oregonlive, 12 Aug. 2022 Monza have made quite the splash, in the customary Berlusconi way, by making some deft signings. Emmet Gates, Forbes, 11 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deft.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for deft


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on deft

Nglish: Translation of deft for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deft for Arabic Speakers


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