• synonyms


[skil-fuh l]
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  1. Chiefly British. skillful.
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Related formsskil·ful·ly, adverbskil·ful·ness, noun


[skil-fuh l]
  1. having or exercising skill: a skillful juggler.
  2. showing or involving skill: a skillful display of fancy diving.
  3. Obsolete. reasonable; rational.
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Also especially British, skil·ful.

Origin of skillful

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at skill1, -ful
Related formsskill·ful·ly, adverbskill·ful·ness, nounqua·si-skill·ful, adjectivequa·si-skill·ful·ly, adverb


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1. ready, adroit, deft, adept, apt, clever, ingenious.

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.


1. awkward, clumsy, amateurish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for skilful


US skillful

  1. possessing or displaying accomplishment or skill
  2. involving or requiring accomplishment or skill
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Derived Formsskilfully or US skillfully, adverbskilfulness or US skillfulness, 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

Word Origin and History for skilful



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper