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deft

[deft]
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adjective, deft·er, deft·est.
  1. dexterous; nimble; skillful; clever: deft hands; a deft mechanic.

Origin of deft

1175–1225; Middle English; variant of daft
Related formsdeft·ly, adverbdeft·ness, nounun·deft, adjective

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for deftness

deft

adjective
  1. quick and neat in movement; nimble; dexterous
Derived Formsdeftly, adverbdeftness, noun

Word Origin

C13 (in the sense: gentle): see daft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for deftness

deft

adj.

Old English gedæfte "mild, gentle," differentiated in Middle English into daft (q.v.) and this word, via sense of "apt, skillful, adept." Cognate with Gothic gadaban "to be fit," Old Norse dafna "to grow strong," Dutch deftig "important, relevant."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper