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[skil-fuh l] /ˈskɪl fəl/
having or exercising skill:
a skillful juggler.
showing or involving skill:
a skillful display of fancy diving.
Obsolete. reasonable; rational.
Also, especially British, skilful.
Origin of skillful
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at skill1, -ful
Related forms
skillfully, adverb
skillfulness, noun
quasi-skillful, adjective
quasi-skillfully, adverb
1. ready, adroit, deft, adept, apt, clever, ingenious.
1. awkward, clumsy, amateurish.
Synonym Study
1.Skillful, skilled, expert refer to readiness and adroitness in an occupation, craft, or art. Skillful suggests especially adroitness and dexterity: a skillful watchmaker. Skilled implies having had long experience and thus having acquired a high degree of proficiency: not an amateur but a skilled worker. Expert means having the highest degree of proficiency; it may mean much the same as skillful or skilled, or both: expert workmanship. See also dexterous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for skillful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If she were skillful and played things right, who could tell?

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • If the Lenape are so skillful, why is one of their bravest warriors here?

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • The wary and skillful Johnston had another army, and he could not be far away.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • His employer, seeing the skillful strokes of the broom, wondered.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger
  • The land is sandy and should have skillful handling to get the best results.

    The Negro Farmer Carl Kelsey
Word Origin and History for skillful

also skilful, early 14c., from skill + -ful. Related: Skillfully; skilfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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