a skilled or proficient person; expert.
The noun adept originally meant “one who has gained knowledge of the of alchemy, the occult, hermetic philosophy, and magic,” which is Joyce’s use of the word. As both noun and adjective, it developed the more general sense “(a person) highly skilled or proficient in a subject.” The adjective adept appears about a quarter of a century before the noun, but they have the same etymology, coming from Latin adeptus, the perfect participle of adipiscī “to overtake, catch up with, obtain, achieve.”
Adipiscī is a compound formation of the preposition and prefix ad, ad-, here in the sense of “reaching,” and the verb apiscī “to seize hold of, grasp.” Apiscī is a frequentative verb formed from the rare verb apere “to fasten, attach, bind,” whose perfect participle aptus “tied, bound, connected, fitted with, ready for” is very common in Latin and is the source of English apt.
- a·dept·ly, adverb
- a·dept·ness, noun
- non·a·dept, adjective
- non·a·dept·ly, adverb
- un·a·dept, adjective
- un·a·dept·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use adept in a sentence
Its CEO is adept at drawing attention to himself and his companies.
That drove her to become adept at calculating the influence of gluons, which help keep protons intact.Seeing a bright future for science in these innovators | Nancy Shute | October 4, 2020 | Science News
New England has been particularly adept at taking away Mahomes’s favorite receivers, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with a Belichick game plan.
As sports betting becomes more and more reliant on technology, you have to wonder what sort of an edge there is to be gained by bettors who are more analytically adept.The Economics of Sports Gambling (Ep. 388 Rebroadcast) | Stephen J. Dubner | August 20, 2020 | Freakonomics
Adebayo is also useful as a traditional big man who rolls to the rim, and Robinson is more than adept at spacing the offense.The Miami Heat’s Dynamic Duo Could Make Noise In The Playoffs | Michael Pina | August 12, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
Dawkins is an adept cultural fire-conductor; the title of his bestselling book The God Delusion gives a clear indicator why.
In critical ways, Russia remains technologically adept, but by its current behavior Russia is also revealed as morally destitute.Russia’s Missiles Stung the World Long Before MH17 | Clive Irving | July 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
As a former law professor at several elite law schools, he is adept at discussing high constitutional theory.The Outside Game of Justice Scalia, a Loner With Clout | David Fontana | June 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Through the years he became just as adept at politics as he was on horseback.The Cowboy Sheriff of Las Vegas Rides Into ‘Mob Museum’ | John L. Smith | June 8, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Two weeks later, a different worker wrote that he was “getting more adept at caring for the child.”
He was skilful in out-door railway work, and an adept in managing trains and traffic.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
In the conduct of his foreign relations, the Bruce proved himself an adept in diplomacy.King Robert the Bruce | A. F. Murison
The cebus did not wait to be shown how to do things, but was an adept in devising ways to do them himself.Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris
I could not feel comfortable in the seats and lounges, as they were very low, requiring an oriental squat at which I am not adept.Valley of the Croen | Lee Tarbell
If Guy Oscard was no great adept at wordy warfare, he was at all events strong in his reception of punishment.With Edged Tools | Henry Seton Merriman
British Dictionary definitions for adept
very proficient in something requiring skill or manual dexterity
a person who is skilled or proficient in something
- adeptly, adverb
- adeptness, noun
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