\ 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

Other Words from skill


skill-less or skilless \ ˈskil-​ləs How to pronounce skill (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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dan Sena, a Democratic consultant in Washington, said that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also possessed an uncanny political skill for defining her positions — and her opponent. New York Times, 9 May 2022 Within that context, Mwangaguhunga and Jones use their influence, skill, and understanding to catalyze change in an American media landscape that continues to search for a proper equilibrium in newsroom diversity and accurate news coverage. Richard Fowler, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 The driving challenge is designed to test skill, precision, navigational ability, observation and teamwork — and Prince Harry even had a go at it himself. Stephanie Petit,, 16 Apr. 2022 The challenge is designed to test skill, precision, navigational ability, observation, and teamwork. ELLE, 16 Apr. 2022 The challenge is designed to test skill, precision, navigational ability, observation, and teamwork. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Apr. 2022 While Clifford’s find is exciting, Brown says that scores that major require serious skill or luck — or both. Alesandra Dubin, Glamour, 5 Apr. 2022 The Grammys, as distinct from the zillion other awards shows vying for viewers’ ever-shrinking interest in them, are meant to celebrate skill, taste, wisdom, ingenuity. Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 Salmon ceviche spotlighted Johnson’s skill with South American leche de tigre, its bracing citric acidity tempered by sweet potato puree and the salmon’s lush neutrality. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 31 Mar. 2022 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,, 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, 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, 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, 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, 8 Apr. 2016 See More

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.

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

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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Dictionary Entries Near skill

ski lift



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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Skill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for skill


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on skill

Nglish: Translation of skill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skill for Arabic Speakers


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