skillful

adjective

skill·​ful ˈskil-fəl How to pronounce skillful (audio)
1
: possessed of or displaying skill : expert
a skillful chef
2
: accomplished with skill
a skillful treatment
skillfully adverb
skillfulness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for skillful

proficient, adept, skilled, skillful, expert mean having great knowledge and experience in a trade or profession.

proficient implies a thorough competence derived from training and practice.

proficient in translating foreign languages

adept implies special aptitude as well as proficiency.

adept at doing long division

skilled stresses mastery of technique.

a skilled surgeon

skillful implies individual dexterity in execution or performance.

skillful drivers

expert implies extraordinary proficiency and often connotes knowledge as well as technical skill.

expert in the evaluation of wines

Example Sentences

He is skillful at diplomacy. an artist skillful in the use of color the skillful manner in which the doctor and nurses treated the patient These issues require skillful handling.
Recent Examples on the Web This equally skillful if much more downbeat sequel should follow its predecessor to wide travel on the festival circuit, then broadcast and streaming exposure. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 7 May 2023 One study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that mindfulness contributes to greater intimate relationship satisfaction by fostering more skillful emotional repertoires. Mark Travers, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Simon Silva was a dedicated public servant, skillful attorney, and lifelong Democrat. Tammy Murga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Sep. 2022 These narrow white strips are known as gutters, and their skillful placement is what makes one isolated image seem to suggest the next. Sam Thielman, The New Yorker, 23 Sep. 2022 The latter goal was particularly skillful. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2022 Directed by Prince-Bythewood and written by Dana Stevens, The Woman King tells the story of Nanisca (Viola Davis), the skillful, single-minded general of an all-female unit of warriors known as the Agojie, who protected the real-life African Kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. Max Gao, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 Sep. 2022 The edit this season has portrayed Sami as smooth, social, and skillful. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 1 Dec. 2022 The skillful look at Cairo’s atmosphere is matched by Bollen’s thoughtful exploration of his characters, each of whom is influenced by the scenery. Oline H. Cogdill, Sun Sentinel, 29 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skillful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of skillful was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near skillful

Cite this Entry

“Skillful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skillful. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

skillful

adjective
skill·​ful ˈskil-fəl How to pronounce skillful (audio)
1
: having or showing skill
2
: accomplished with skill
a skillful defense
skillfully adverb
skillfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on skillful

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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