pen·​man·​ship | \ ˈpen-mən-ˌship How to pronounce penmanship (audio) \

Definition of penmanship

1 : the art or practice of writing with the pen
2 : quality or style of handwriting

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Synonyms for penmanship


hand, handwriting, script

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Examples of penmanship in a Sentence

My third grade teacher thought it was important for us to learn penmanship. doctors are famous for their illegible penmanship

Recent Examples on the Web

In his spare time, McVay drew X’s and O’s on the white boards in the meeting rooms—obsessed with writing each letter with impeccable penmanship. Greg Bishop,, "The Forgettable Years of a Coaching Staff to Remember," 23 Aug. 2019 Through the diligent efforts of those billboard cows with their poor penmanship and dubious spelling skills, Chick-fil-A has moved up the ranks from the seventh-largest restaurant chain in the United States to become the third. Laura Reiley, Washington Post, "The sky is falling for fast food, but not for Chick-fil-A. Here’s why.," 19 June 2019 Once again, there was no clear winner, but everyone agreed that penmanship counts. Deb Amlen, New York Times, "Puzzle Lovers Find Their Tribe at a Crossword Tournament," 26 Mar. 2018 An endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and a sold-out, rockstar-style book tour are testaments to the penmanship of the invincible activist. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Michelle Obama's Memoir "Becoming" Is Already the Best-Selling Hardcover Book of 2018," 1 Dec. 2018 DelRosario's work exhaustively documenting Carey's art around town and encouraging the artist to put his unique penmanship on paper gave the duo an excellent starting point. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "How do you preserve beloved New Orleans folk art? A Web font, of course," 23 Nov. 2018 In any other party setting, beautiful penmanship would simply be elegant. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20 Halloween Party Ideas So Sophisticated They’ll Scare You," 18 Oct. 2018 Closer to penmanship than painting, this narrow concept of the medium seemed to have petered out a while ago. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Three Artists, Three Arcs, One Gallery," 31 May 2018 Laborious penmanship precludes writers from keeping pace with speakers. Stephen Phillips,, "New tech books: ‘Bad Blood,’ ‘Live Work Work Work Die,’ ‘The Efficiency Paradox’," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penmanship.' 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 penmanship

1695, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near penmanship


pen machine






Statistics for penmanship

Last Updated

29 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for penmanship

The first known use of penmanship was in 1695

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More Definitions for penmanship



English Language Learners Definition of penmanship

: the art or practice of writing by hand
: the quality or style of someone's handwriting


pen·​man·​ship | \ ˈpen-mən-ˌship How to pronounce penmanship (audio) \

Kids Definition of penmanship

: style or quality of handwriting

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More from Merriam-Webster on penmanship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with penmanship

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for penmanship

Spanish Central: Translation of penmanship

Nglish: Translation of penmanship for Spanish Speakers

Comments on penmanship

What made you want to look up penmanship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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