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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The rest comes from Davis’s supple compositional art — which mixes muscular dexterity with emotional vulnerability in a way that’s rare in both the contemporary chamber music and improvisational scenes. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021 Waters demonstrates slight visual dexterity with his modernization. Courtney Howard, Variety, 27 Aug. 2021 To make healthy meal prep a bit easier, consider buying pre-chopped fruits and veggies, or investing in some adaptive utensils and cooking tools that can improve dexterity and reduce stress on the finger joints. Cassie Shortsleeve, Good Housekeeping, 27 Aug. 2021 The small brush offers dexterity, really hitting each strand without leaving excess formula around the eyes. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 21 Aug. 2021 Putting aside a few minutes each day for long-termist, planetary imagination can enrich us with greater mental dexterity in navigating between multiple, interacting timescales. Vincent Ialenti, Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2021 Bouldering is a slow ascent up a short wall without ropes, a feat of dexterity and strength. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2021 But what’s particularly striking about the production is the sheer dexterity of its technical competence. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 17 June 2021 But regardless of who is doing it, the work requires both a high level of dexterity and a special temperament. John Brodie, Town & Country, 14 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About dexterity

Time Traveler for dexterity

Time Traveler

The first known use of dexterity was in 1518

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near dexterity

dexter chief point



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dexterity

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dexterity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on dexterity

Nglish: Translation of dexterity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dexterity for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!