dex·ter·i·ty | \ dek-ˈster-ə-tē , -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

Realistically, not all students will have the mechanical skills or physical dexterity to become a bike mechanic, said Officer Steven Bezany of the bike patrol unit. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "SAPD bike officers teach mechanics to special needs students," 15 May 2018 Hamlet,’’ delivers a Benedick of charisma, wit, and physical dexterity. Don Aucoin,, "A ‘Much Ado’ that brings Beyoncé to its battle of wits," 17 Apr. 2018 Cross stitch friends, $20 to $24 Sewing is a great way for children to improve their dexterity. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 top holiday gifts for kids (and adults), recommended by local, independent toy stores," 7 Dec. 2017 That daring combination of simplicity and dexterity make this an extraordinary piece of stagecraft. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018 Sure, you’ll be impressed and sometimes dazzled by the agility and dexterity of Cirque’s international cast of acrobats and aerialists, by the movement of bodies through space at impossible speeds and angles that adds up to a kind of airborne dance. Don Aucoin,, "A Cirque du Soleil show that’s as interested in ‘Ahh’ as ‘Wow’," 29 June 2018 Quin displayed charm and dexterity in the challenging routine. Hal Boedeker,, "'America's Got Talent': Orlando dancer wows," 20 June 2018 Big at this year’s American International Toy Fair was a board game called Plunge It! which tests players’ dexterity in sucking up faux manure, and Poopeez, a line of squishy toys tucked in plastic toilet paper rolls. Joanne Kaufman, New York Times, "If You Think the Poop Emoji Is Gross, Don’t Read This," 24 May 2018 Katie Ridder has a dexterity with color palettes, a playful approach to mixing antiques and modern pieces, and an eye for unusual decorative accents. Devin Alessio, ELLE Decor, "The A-List: 60+ Of The Best Interior Designers From The Pages Of ELLE DECOR And Beyond," 23 May 2016

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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Statistics for dexterity

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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

: clever skill : the ability to think and act quickly and cleverly


dex·ter·i·ty | \ dek-ˈster-ə-tē \
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 \
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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