[skil-fuh l]


Chiefly British. skillful.

Related formsskil·ful·ly, adverbskil·ful·ness, noun




having or exercising skill: a skillful juggler.
showing or involving skill: a skillful display of fancy diving.
Obsolete. reasonable; rational.
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

Synonyms for skillful

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.

Antonyms for skillful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skilful

Contemporary Examples of skilful

Historical Examples of skilful

  • His novels are marked by abundance of incident, skilful handling of dialect, and realistic portraiture.

  • By yielding to these desires, we lend them a new force, and we moderate them by a skilful resistance.

  • But Alessandro Manzoni is not only a skilful painter of individual portraits, he excels also in grand historical representations.

    The Betrothed

    Alessandro Manzoni

  • This is what a skilful teacher may do for his scholars, by a knowledge and practice of the art of questioning.

    In the School-Room

    John S. Hart

  • The professional acrobats that are met with on festive occasions are fearless and skilful.

British Dictionary definitions for skilful


US skillful


possessing or displaying accomplishment or skill
involving or requiring accomplishment or skill
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper