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 Pruning, thinning, picking and packaging delicate ripe fruit requires manual dexterity from the orchard fields to the packing line. Gregory Scruggs, Washington Post, "Coronavirus forces economic reckoning in central Washington’s cherry country," 9 July 2020 Regenerative braking is forceful, which is fortunate given the ankle dexterity required to switch pedals, but the hydraulic brakes work well. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Bugatti Baby II Plays with the Past," 1 Sep. 2020 These Cute Stone bendable utensils help develop grasp training, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity for babies six months and up. Popular Science, "The best children’s utensils sets for neat eating," 20 Aug. 2020 Sony and Carnegie Mellon University have joined forces to build robots with the dexterity and precision required to handle food prep, cooking, and delivery. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "A Robot Might Cook Your Next White Castle Burger," 26 July 2020 Blind voters and people whose disability limits their dexterity require assistance to fill out the paper ballots. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Disabilities advocates: Texas mail ballot system disenfranchises people with disabilities," 24 July 2020 Mastering the craft requires years of hands-on experience, working with the tools and materials, developing dexterity and control, a steady hand and trained eye. Marjorie Hunt, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Decades-Long Journey to Restore the National Cathedral," 15 July 2020 Coloring your own hair requires skill, dexterity, and a basic familiarity with science. Maureen Choi, Glamour, "How to Dye Your Hair at Home Like a Pro," 13 July 2020 This affordable kit is designed for small hands and doesn’t require incredible dexterity for audience raves. Popular Science, "Magic kits that help kids understand the science of illusion," 11 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for dexterity

Time Traveler

The first known use of dexterity was in 1518

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Statistics for dexterity

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dexterity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for dexterity


How to pronounce dexterity (audio)

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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