\ ˈskil How to pronounce skill (audio) \

Definition of skill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance
b : dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks
2 : a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability language skills
3 obsolete : cause, reason


skilled; skilling; skills

Definition of skill (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a difference : matter, avail

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Other Words from skill


skill-less or skilless \ ˈskil-​ləs How to pronounce skilless (audio) \ adjective
skill-lessness or skillessness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for skill


art, skill, cunning, artifice, craft mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised. art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power. the art of choosing the right word skill stresses technical knowledge and proficiency. the skill of a glassblower cunning suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing. a mystery plotted with great cunning artifice suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature. believed realism in film could be achieved only by artifice craft may imply expertness in workmanship. the craft of a master goldsmith

Examples of skill in a Sentence

Noun Poker is a game of luck and skill. The work is difficult and requires a lot of skill. Cooking is a useful skill. He has excellent social skills.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Success hinges on similar skills, as John Snow, an Englishman who drew up the principles of modern epidemiology, demonstrated in 1854. The Economist, "To each according to his need The risk of severe covid-19 is not uniform," 21 May 2020 An 18-year-old shortstop and widely considered one of the Giants’ top three prospects, Luciano plans on making a splash in the big leagues with his wide array of skills. John Shea,, "Development for top Giants prospect Marco Luciano on hold because of coronavirus," 20 May 2020 One of Anderson's key skills, making the ball swing (moving it through the air from side to side), is partly dependent on how much he and his fellow players can shine the ball using their sweat or saliva. Amanda Davies And Ben Morse, CNN, "England cricket great Anderson 'desperate to get out there and play' despite nerves surrounding coronavirus," 19 May 2020 The impressive skills of the bird drew the comparison to another legendary bird — Larry Bird. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Larry Legends: Watch birds dunk and play defense," 19 May 2020 For example, instead of engineering classes, the faculty might assign teams of students to work on a real-world project for a company and monitor their mastery of skills. Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, "Stay-at-home college? Campuses focus on finances, and survival.," 18 May 2020 She's been encouraging her clients to pick up positive coping skills, like meditation, painting or exercise., "Missed milestones, loneliness take a toll on teens' mental health," 17 May 2020 There's not much prestige in winning a game of skill because your opponent saw your character stuttering around the stage. Aurich Lawson, Ars Technica, "How a rejected My Little Pony game helped save a historic tournament," 14 May 2020 Once considered a tourism backwater with a reputation for expensive prices and a lack of foreign language skills, Japan’s inbound boom has been one of the few unambiguous economic success stories under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Gearoid Reidy,, "China Tour Ban Deals Blow to Japan’s Goal of 40 Million Visitors," 13 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On July 29, a youth skills camp, free of charge for boys and girls, will take place at the Keney Woodland Basketball Courts in Keney Park in Hartford. Mike Anthony,, "Celebrating Hartford's Rich Basketball History In July," 31 May 2017 Better options for a ramp-down business would include services that leverage expertise or skills the entrepreneur is already known for. Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities, "Working Strategies: Business startup as career ramp-down," 13 May 2017 Instruction focuses on what is interesting and meaningful to each child, layering necessary skilling on top, with six classes divided into age groups. Nadine Jolie Courtney, Town & Country, "These Preschools Are the Ivy League of Early Education," 11 Oct. 2016 Occasionally you are made to feel adrift in narrative Siberia, left to dream about condensation and editing, about the knife skills an oral historian should have in her kit. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Laureate of Russian Misery, Has an English-Language Milestone MAY 20, 2016," 24 May 2016 There are also medical engineers skilled in the use of advanced diagnostic equipment, and hydro-engineers to stave off the flooding. David Hiser, National Geographic, "Bringing the Ghostly City of Pompeii Back to Life," 8 Apr. 2016

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for skill


Middle English skil, from Old Norse, distinction, knowledge; probably akin to Old English scylian to separate, sciell shell — more at shell


Middle English skilen, from Old Norse skilja to separate, divide; akin to Old Norse skil distinction

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Learn More about skill

Time Traveler for skill

Time Traveler

The first known use of skill was in the 13th century

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Statistics for skill

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for skill


How to pronounce skill (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skill

: the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice


\ ˈskil How to pronounce skill (audio) \

Kids Definition of skill

1 : ability that comes from training or practice The band played with skill.
2 : a developed or acquired ability The skill of diving can be learned.

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More from Merriam-Webster on skill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skill

Spanish Central: Translation of skill

Nglish: Translation of skill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skill for Arabic Speakers

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