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 skillful

Contemporary Examples of skillful

Historical Examples of skillful

  • If she were skillful and played things right, who could tell?


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • If the Lenape are so skillful, why is one of their bravest warriors here?

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The wary and skillful Johnston had another army, and he could not be far away.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • His employer, seeing the skillful strokes of the broom, wondered.

  • The land is sandy and should have skillful handling to get the best results.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

Word Origin and History for skillful

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper