\ 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


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

Hill and board member Lisa Woods of Medina also have concerns about how the state will measure progress in these goals and test students on their social and emotional skills. Patrick O'donnell,, "Social-Emotional learning draws questions for state school board," 8 June 2019 Marmolejo has developed her skills as a teacher, actress and professional musician. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Kick off summer with adult ballet and tap classes," 7 June 2019 With Everest becoming a bucket-list item that more and more people pursue, serious climbers are looking to less popular peaks to prove their skill. Washington Post, "Famed Indian climber nearly died on peak where team was lost," 7 June 2019 Sarancic is gearing up for his senior season by sharpening his shot and his dribbling skills. Lamond Pope, Lake County News-Sun, "'He's ready to score': Adnan Sarancic continues growth as a go-to player in crunch time for Warren," 7 June 2019 Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, a fifth-round pick from Penn State, said the defensive backs are leaning on each other to improve their takeaway skills. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions had a takeaway problem in 2018. Here's how they're fixing it," 7 June 2019 Vance, a bullpen catcher for the Northwoods League's Kenosha Kingfish in Wisconsin, recently showed off his hilarious dancing skills during a game against the Kokomo Jackrabbits while the cameras were rolling. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "Minor League Baseball Catcher Busts Out Ridiculous Bullpen Dance Moves," 7 June 2019 In the now-viral video, D.J. Pryor, a comedian, uses his improv skills to start talking to his son, Kingston Jierre, about the show. Melissa Locker, Time, "Dad's Casual 'Conversation' With Infant Son Is Comedy Gold," 6 June 2019 Brina Micheels: Sixteen-year-old high school student Micheels has over 64,000 Instagram followers thanks to her breathtaking football skills. Patrick Sung Cuadrado And Aimee Lewis, CNN, "The inspirational footballers helping to change perceptions," 6 June 2019

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

Dictionary Entries near skill



ski lift




skill facet

Statistics for skill

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skill

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

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More Definitions for skill



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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