dexterous

play
adjective dex·ter·ous \ ˈdek-st(ə-)rəs \
variants: or less commonly dextrous

Definition of dexterous

1 :mentally adroit and skillful :clever
  • her dexterous handling of the crisis
2 :done with mental or physical skill, quickness, or grace :done with dexterity :artful
  • a dexterous maneuver
3 :skillful and competent with the hands
  • a dexterous surgeon

dexterously

adverb

dexterousness

noun

Examples of dexterous in a Sentence

  1. They praised her dexterous handling of the crisis.

  2. The movie is a dexterous retelling of a classic love story.

Recent Examples of dexterous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dexterous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Dexterous comes from the Latin word dexter, meaning "on the right side." Since most people are right-handed, and therefore do things more easily with their right hand, dexter developed the sense of skillful. English speakers crafted dexterous from dexter and have been using the resulting adjective for anyone who is skillful-in either a physical or mental capacity-since at least the early 1600s. The adjective ambidextrous, which combines dexter with the Latin prefix ambi-, meaning "both," describes one who is able to use both hands in an equally skillful way.

Origin and Etymology of dexterous

Latin dextr-, dexter on the right side, skillful

Synonym Discussion of dexterous

dexterous, adroit, deft mean ready and skilled in physical movement. dexterous implies expertness with consequent facility and quickness in manipulation.
    • unrolled the sleeping bag with a dexterous toss
adroit implies dexterity but usually also stresses resourcefulness or artfulness or inventiveness.
    • the magician's adroit response to the failure of her prop won applause
deft emphasizes lightness, neatness, and sureness of touch or handling.
    • a surgeon's deft manipulation of the scalpel

DEXTEROUS Defined for English Language Learners

dexterous

play
adjective

Definition of dexterous for English Language Learners

  • : having or showing great skill or cleverness : showing dexterity


DEXTEROUS Defined for Kids

dexterous

play
adjective dex·ter·ous \ ˈdek-stə-rəs , -strəs \

Definition of dexterous for Students

1 :skillful with the hands
  • a dexterous potter
2 :clever 2
  • a dexterous chess player
3 :done with skill
  • The skier made a dexterous jump.

dexterously

adverb

Medical Dictionary

dexterous

adjective dex·ter·ous
variants: also dextrous play \ˈdek-st(ə-)rəs\

medical Definition of dexterous

1 :skillful and competent with the hands
2 :mentally adroit and skillful

dexterously

adverb

dexterousness

noun


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