[pen-muh n-ship]


the art of handwriting; the use of the pen in writing.
a person's style or manner of handwriting: clear penmanship; poor penmanship.

Origin of penmanship

First recorded in 1685–95; penman + -ship Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for penmanship

chirography, writing, script, longhand, calligraphy

Examples from the Web for penmanship

Contemporary Examples of penmanship

  • No trace of his penmanship was to be found—a very handy tip for future use.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Bag Lady Papers, Part V

    Alexandra Penney

    February 5, 2009

Historical Examples of penmanship

  • He asked me to judge the writer's character from the penmanship.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport

    Robert Neilson Stephens

  • You are to come three nights a week, for lessons in arithmetic and penmanship.

    From Farm to Fortune

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • We have prepared, for home study, books on bookkeeping, penmanship and shorthand.

    Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales

    Robert L. Taylor

  • Penmanship has always been one of my own deficiencies, and I know how to sympathize with you.

    Behind the Scenes

    Elizabeth Keckley

  • She did; and it affected his penmanship so that the writing grew wabbly.


    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for penmanship



style or technique of writing by handAlso called: calligraphy
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 penmanship

1690s, from obsolete penman "copyist, clerk, scrivener" + -ship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper