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See more synonyms for deft on Thesaurus.com
adjective, deft·er, deft·est.
  1. dexterous; nimble; skillful; clever: deft hands; a deft mechanic.
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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

Related Words for deftness

nimbleness, adeptness, adroitness, sleight, skill, swiftness

Examples from the Web for deftness

Contemporary Examples of deftness

Historical Examples of deftness

British Dictionary definitions for deftness


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

Word Origin for deft

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



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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper