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

His dancers don’t bend with swooning luxury, but with nimble proficiency. Janine Parker,, "Merce Cunningham dances are marvels anew with Compagnie CNDC-Angers," 4 July 2019 Nothing on the menu breaks new ground, but the point of Cut is not novelty but rather expensive, flavorful beef, prepared with exacting proficiency by a culinary team led by chef de cuisine Hilary Henderson. Patricia Escárcega,, "Beyond Spago, exploring Wolfgang Puck’s L.A. empire at Cut and Chinois on Main," 27 June 2019 Tracy Klugian, who lives in San Diego, said he was taken aback by the candidates showing off their language proficiency. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, "Debate Viewers Struggle with Concept of President Without Glaring Personality Disorder," 27 June 2019 Nye made a point of showcasing the work and proficiency of each of his guests. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartzy, "Before we knew better: “Bill Nye the Science Guy”’s legacy endures 26 years later," 27 June 2019 Out of those meetings, the community has asked for more professional learning in cultural proficiency, training in implicit bias and a request for increased accountability in staff, Morris said. Jess Nocera,, "Howard schools working to address disproportionate suspension rates among students," 12 June 2019 Applicants who clear this eligibility requirement are often physically disabled and, because of a lack of English proficiency, unable to switch to desk jobs. Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post, "He doesn’t speak English. Should that be considered in an application for disability benefits?," 10 June 2019 The bill privileges immigrants who have lofty education and professional credentials and proficiency in English, and requires them to take a civics exam. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “Madame Speaker, Did You Bring Your Handcuffs?”," 19 May 2019 When applying to the role, attitude is just as important as proficiency with Apple products (if not more so). Kathleen Corlett, Woman's Day, "How to Work for Apple Without Leaving Your House," 1 May 2019

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

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proficiency

The first known use of proficiency was in 1544

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Comments on proficiency

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


to complain fretfully

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