dexterous

adjective
dex·​ter·​ous | \ ˈdek-st(ə-)rəs How to pronounce dexterous (audio) \
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

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Other Words from dexterous

dexterously adverb
dexterousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of dexterous in a Sentence

They praised her dexterous handling of the crisis. The movie is a dexterous retelling of a classic love story.
Recent Examples on the Web Philip Billing hasn't looked at all out of place following his arrival from Huddersfield Town, while the highly-physical, surprisingly-dexterous Jefferson Lerma continues to thrive on these shores. SI.com, "Ranking All 20 Premier League Midfields From Worst to Best," 18 Oct. 2019 In 2018, the 18-year-old producer kicked off with the four-song Trials and Tribulations EP, which pits sing-along R&B against whirring, dexterous samples, knocking bass and sputtering trap snares. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billboard Dance Emerging Artists: October 2019," 8 Oct. 2019 Here was a bold, designed dash by a rookie quarterback with the kind of dexterous mobility so common to the cadre of young quarterbacks lighting up the N.F.L. in the last two seasons. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Daniel Jones Runs the Giants to a Win in His First Start," 22 Sep. 2019 But recently, technological developments and advances in machine learning have led to successful trials of more sensitive and dexterous robots, which use cameras and artificial intelligence to locate ripe fruit and handle it with care and precision. Nell Lewis, CNN, "Why robots will soon be picking soft fruits and salad," 4 Sep. 2019 On tape, Cutcliffe noticed that Jones’s hands were soft like a middle infielder’s, and his dexterous fingers helped him hang on to the snap while scanning for throwing lanes. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "Can the Giants Really Bank on Daniel Jones?," 7 Aug. 2019 The creature requires a dexterous performer inside the suit and a Grady-esque handler to engage curious visitors. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "The real stars of 'Jurassic World - The Ride' are the freakily lifelike roaming dinosaurs," 23 July 2019 The 26-year-old Davis has everything a modern big man needs: a seven-and-a-half-foot-wingspan, dexterous touch at the rim or on the perimeter, an ability to leave the floor faster than everyone around him. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "Anthony Davis and LeBron James Are Uniquely Suited to Win," 17 June 2019 But with Thompson and dexterous rapper Black Thought still at the fore, The Roots have grown ever more assured and ambitious, especially in concert. 8 p.m. Aug. 30, The Event Center, Harrah’s Resort SoCal, 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego summer concerts go from ‘A’ (Anderson.Paak) to ‘Z’ (The Zombies)," 13 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of dexterous

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dexterous

Latin dextr-, dexter on the right side, skillful

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Time Traveler for dexterous

Time Traveler

The first known use of dexterous was in 1609

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Statistics for dexterous

Last Updated

21 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dexterous.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dexterously. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for dexterous

dexterous

adjective
How to pronounce dexterous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dexterous

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

dexterous

adjective
dex·​ter·​ous | \ ˈdek-stə-rəs How to pronounce dexterous (audio) , -strəs \

Kids Definition of dexterous

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

Other Words from dexterous

dexterously adverb

dexterous

adjective
dex·​ter·​ous
variants: also dextrous \ ˈdek-​st(ə-​)rəs How to pronounce dextrous (audio) \

Medical Definition of dexterous

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

Other Words from dexterous

dexterously adverb
dexterousness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on dexterous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dexterous

Spanish Central: Translation of dexterous

Nglish: Translation of dexterous for Spanish Speakers

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