pro·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ prə-ˈfi-shən(t)-sē How to pronounce proficiency (audio) \

Definition of proficiency

1 : advancement in knowledge or skill : progress
2 : the quality or state of being proficient

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Synonyms for proficiency


command, IQ, mastership, mastery

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Examples of proficiency in a Sentence

surprised by his proficiency at the game after only the briefest explanation of the rules acquired proficiency at golf through long hours of practice

Recent Examples on the Web

The Los Angeles Times reports that only 42% of the district’s students can read at grade level, and math proficiency is an even lower 32%. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Teachers Unions Don’t Really Strike for ‘the Kids’," 22 Jan. 2019 Elsewhere, proficiency rates held steady, or improved by one to three percentage points. Kevin Richert, idahostatesman, "Idaho's spring standardized test scores improved. But the SAT had lackluster numbers.," 20 June 2018 La Salle's only proficiency on offense came from big man Tony Washington. Andrew Albert,, "La Salle makes lead stand up in 75-67 victory over Fordham," 18 Jan. 2018 All of this speaks to fitness, which is different than mental capacity or competence or proficiency with policy. Nancy Gibbs, Time, "The Unpresident: Why Donald Trump Will Never Change," 11 Jan. 2018 Multiple studies show that higher volumes of cases generally produce the best outcomes, with doctors and their teams gaining more experience and proficiency. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "Hospitals Rush to Offer New Stroke Treatment," 26 Dec. 2018 District officials say the 45 threshold minimizes scenarios in which a school could score zero points on proficiency, but still be eligible for renewal. Maddie Hanna,, "Philly school district proposes to renew 16 charters, move to close one," 11 June 2018 Schools in Wisconsin that followed the guidance also saw subsequent reductions in math and reading proficiency. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Obama’s Racial Preferences Made Schools Dangerous," 25 Dec. 2018 In 2017 Detroit ranked last in proficiency out of 27 large urban school districts with a measly 5% of fourth-graders proficient in math and 7% in reading. Cori Petersen, WSJ, "This Building Is for Sale (but Not to a Charter School)," 9 Nov. 2018

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

1544, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for proficiency

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for proficiency

The first known use of proficiency was in 1544

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Comments on proficiency

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one that collects or salvages junk

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