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

Houston is flying blindly without someone overseeing their front office, rumbling through this offseason with the dexterity of a toddler driving a school bus. Conor Orr,, "Texans’ Frantic Trades Expose the Franchise’s Lack of Vision and Direction," 31 Aug. 2019 But the Boys combine dexterity with an engaging chemistry and personal tension. Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times, "Bad Boys of Magic trade the birds and bunnies for booze and banter," 16 Aug. 2019 In the world of Italian food, the only thing that requires more manual dexterity than twirling your pasta is logging in fast enough to get one of the Olive Garden’s coveted passes. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, "For the first time, Olive Garden will offer a Lifetime Pasta Pass," 12 Aug. 2019 And while humans in space can explore with more dexterity than robots, that hardly justifies a hundred-fold cost increase or the ultra-high safety risks of sending people instead of machines to explore distant worlds. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Half a century after Apollo, why haven’t we been back to the Moon?," 19 July 2019 The film accepts this state of affairs as an invitation for its characters to achieve a cartoon-like level of physical endurance, strength, dexterity, mutability and resistance to pain. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw': Film Review," 31 July 2019 McLorin Salvant’s 45-minute turn also underscored why her vocal dexterity helped her win the prestigious Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010 and two Grammys since then. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Cyndi Lauper Powers Through Buzzed-About Performance at the Hollywood Bowl," 13 July 2019 Atkeson said her brother’s skills as a pianist helped him develop the dexterity in his hands that would be essential to him as a dentist. Tony Bravo,, "Alan Malouf, SF’s ‘dentist to the stars,’ dies at 62," 3 July 2019 The agriculture scientist, community organizer and international speaker, whose hand dexterity is untroubled by an ever-present cigar and who can slip in and out of muddy boots with ease, wants to feed a nation’s hunger for a better life. Kevin Spear,, "Cuban farmer feeds hunger for better way of life," 10 July 2019

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

Statistics for dexterity

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dexterity

The first known use of dexterity was in 1518

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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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Comments on dexterity

What made you want to look up dexterity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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