Synonym Chooser

How is the word deft different from other adjectives like it?

The words adroit and dexterous are common synonyms of deft. While all three words mean "ready and skilled in physical movement," deft emphasizes lightness, neatness, and sureness of touch or handling.

a surgeon's deft manipulation of the scalpel

When is it sensible to use adroit instead of deft?

The words adroit and deft are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, adroit implies dexterity but usually also stresses resourcefulness or artfulness or inventiveness.

the magician's adroit response to the failure of her prop won applause

In what contexts can dexterous take the place of deft?

In some situations, the words dexterous and deft are roughly equivalent. However, dexterous implies expertness with consequent facility and quickness in manipulation.

unrolled the sleeping bag with a dexterous toss

Thesaurus Entries Near deft

Cite this Entry

“Deft.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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