[ adjective uh-dept; noun ad-ept, uh-dept ]
/ adjective əˈdɛpt; noun ˈæd ɛpt, əˈdɛpt /


very skilled; proficient; expert: an adept juggler.

noun ad·ept [ad-ept, uh-dept] /ˈæd ɛpt, əˈdɛpt/

a skilled or proficient person; expert.

Origin of adept

1655–65; < Medieval Latin adeptus one who has attained (the secret of transmuting metals), noun use of L past participle of adipiscī to attain to (ad- ad- + -ep-, combining form of ap- in aptus apt + -tus past participle suffix)



adapt adept adopt

historical usage of adept

The Latin noun adepti “those who have attained knowledge of the esoteric secrets of alchemy,” seems first to have appeared in the works of the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus, and later, in the works of the Flemish chemist and physician Jan Baptista van Helmont. Twice in Ulysses, James Joyce uses the noun adept in reference to Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society.
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adeptness

British Dictionary definitions for adeptness


adjective (əˈdɛpt)

very proficient in something requiring skill or manual dexterity
skilful; expert

noun (ˈædɛpt)

a person who is skilled or proficient in something

Derived forms of adept

adeptly, adverbadeptness, noun

Word Origin for adept

C17: from Medieval Latin adeptus, from Latin adipiscī to attain, from ad- to + apiscī to attain
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