Definition of proficient
: well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge
Examples of proficient in a sentence
With this system, a large pool of teachers are asked to identify students they believe are proficient in a given subject; those students are then tested, and their grades stand as the proficiency range. —Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, 15 Sept. 2003
Dr. Pascual-Leone recruited 15 proficient Braille readers and wired them up so he could measure their somatosensory cortex—the part of the brain that registers and processes the sense of touch. —Sharon Begley, Wall Street Journal, 11 Oct. 2002
Become proficient at lag putting and you may make a few. —Dave Pelz, Golf Magazine, July 1996
He has become very proficient at computer programming.
She is proficient in two foreign languages.
Comparing efficient, effective, and proficient
These three words cover some overlapping territory.
Efficient most often describes what is capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy. While the word can be applied to both people and things, it is far more commonly applied to things, such as machines, systems, processes, and organizations. The focus of the word is on how little is wasted or lost while the desired results are produced.
Effective typically describes things—such as policies, treatments, arguments, and techniques—that do what they are intended to do. People can also be described as effective when they accomplish what they set out to accomplish, but the word is far more often applied to things.
Proficient typically describes people, and it often is followed by the preposition at. If you are proficient at something, you are very good at it. You are, in fact, so good at doing it that you are unusually efficient when you do it. One can also be proficient in something, such as a language.
Synonym Discussion of proficient
PROFICIENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of proficient for English Language Learners
: good at doing something
PROFICIENT Defined for Kids
Definition of proficient for Students
: very good at doing something <a proficient reader>
Seen and Heard
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