dex·​ter·​i·​ty | \ dek-ˈster-ə-tē How to pronounce dexterity (audio) , -ˈste-rə- \
plural dexterities

Definition of dexterity

1 : readiness and grace in physical activity especially : skill and ease in using the hands manual dexterity
2 : mental skill or quickness : adroitness

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Examples of dexterity in a Sentence

Russ Cellan, Ferguson's coach at Freeport (New York) High, and Ron Prince, his former offensive line coach at Virginia, both attribute Ferguson's dexterity and footwork to his extensive martial arts training … — Nunyo Demasio, Sports Illustrated, 10 Apr. 2006 The Carcanet volume also offers its readers the advantage of seeing the German originals alongside the English, enabling them to perceive at a glance how much sympathy and linguistic dexterity Elliot has brought to the difficult but rewarding task of introducing a new generation of English readers to Heine's tragic but wonderfully vigorous and vivid late poetry. — S. S. Prawer, Times Literary Supplement, 28 Sept. - 4 Oct. 1990 But the mayor showed considerable political dexterity in the days following the fire, taking care to distance himself from on-site decisions while accepting full responsibility for the bombing itself. He made himself available to reporters, met with people from the fire-ravaged neighborhood, and was gracious enough not to blame subordinates. — Amy Wilentz, Time, 27 May 1985 The job requires manual dexterity. He has the dexterity needed to deal cards quickly. The amazing dexterity of the acrobat. He's a teacher known for his imagination and verbal dexterity.
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Recent Examples on the Web Wu, who also serves as co-writer, is astonishing in her dexterity and ability to evoke the confrontational as certainly as the desolate. Sarah-tai Black, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Nina Wu,’ a deep psychological dive into exploitation," 2 Apr. 2021 In a lullaby-like tone, Gomez sings about gaining the strength necessary to move on after a breakup, while the delivery of complex Spanish lyrics further showcases her vocal dexterity. Marcus Jones,, "Selena Gomez takes a risk that pays off on Revelación," 12 Mar. 2021 Engineers have long sought to create robotic hands with similar dexterity, and many of their designs are truly remarkable. Jonathan Adolph, Popular Science, "Turn a boring box into a sweet working robotic hand," 24 Nov. 2020 The FlintRehab Premium Quality Therapy Putty will increase dexterity in your hands. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Putty Set to Play With," 1 Mar. 2021 To prevent a cold spot, manufacturers would have to add even more down to a glove’s palm and compromise dexterity and grip in the process. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "Trying to Keep Your Hands Warm? Choose Mittens, like Bernie.," 22 Jan. 2021 With either method, the idea is to help robots fix their embarrassing lack of dexterity. Matt Simon, Wired, "This Fingertip for Robots Uses Magnets to ‘Feel’ Things," 10 Mar. 2021 Weilerstein’s dexterity is stunning, her tone luminous. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cellist Alisa Weilerstein returns to hometown for stunning Bach on Cleveland Orchestra series," 26 Feb. 2021 Heavily insulated gloves keep you warm, but at the expense of manual dexterity. Field & Stream, "Best Hunting Gloves for Bowhunting, Bird Hunting, Duck Hunting, and More," 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dexterity.' 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 dexterity

1518, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for dexterity

Middle French or Latin; Middle French dexterité, from Latin dexteritat-, dexteritas, from dexter — see dexterous

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Learn More about dexterity

Time Traveler for dexterity

Time Traveler

The first known use of dexterity was in 1518

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Statistics for dexterity

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dexterity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for dexterity



English Language Learners Definition of dexterity

: the ability to use your hands skillfully
: the ability to easily move in a way that is graceful
formal : clever skill : the ability to think and act quickly and cleverly


dex·​ter·​i·​ty | \ dek-ˈster-ə-tē How to pronounce dexterity (audio) \
plural dexterities

Kids Definition of dexterity

1 : skill and ease in the use of the hands or body
2 : the ability to think and act quickly and cleverly


dex·​ter·​i·​ty | \ dek-ˈster-ət-ē How to pronounce dexterity (audio) \
plural dexterities

Medical Definition of dexterity

1 : readiness and grace in physical activity especially : skill and ease in using the hands
2 : mental skill or quickness

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