[ skil ]
See synonyms for skill on
  1. the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: Carpentry was one of his many skills.

  2. competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity: The dancers performed with skill.

  1. a craft, trade, or job requiring manual dexterity or special training in which a person has competence and experience: the skill of cabinetmaking.

  2. Obsolete. understanding; discernment.

  3. Obsolete. reason; cause.

Origin of skill

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English, from Old Norse skil “distinction, difference”; cognate with Dutch geschil “difference, quarrel”; see skill2

Other words for skill

Opposites for skill

Other definitions for skill (2 of 2)

[ skil ]

verb (used without object)Archaic.
  1. to matter.

  2. to help; avail.

Origin of skill

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English skilien, from Old Norse skilja “to distinguish, divide,” akin to skil (see skill1), Old English scylian “to separate,” Gothic skilja “butcher,” Lithuanian skélti “to split” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use skill in a sentence

  • Following the War between the States and its resulting poverty, many of the skills of the earlier craftsmen seemed to disappear.

  • Aaron has flirted with our century; he and his wife learned some very un-Amish skills at the Homestead School.

    Blind Man's Lantern | Allen Kim Lang
  • Its functions, its whole existence depend entirely upon the human skills and the human loyalties amongst its staff.

    The Brain | Alexander Blade
  • As a first step, he had spent a year as Pudzy, a college boy, studying electronics and modern skills of all kinds.

    Satan and the Comrades | Ralph Bennitt
  • A mature team member has learned that his strength and skills depend on the strength and skills of others.

    Herein is Love | Reuel L. Howe

British Dictionary definitions for skill


/ (skɪl) /

  1. special ability in a task, sport, etc, esp ability acquired by training

  2. something, esp a trade or technique, requiring special training or manual proficiency

  1. obsolete understanding

Origin of skill

C12: from Old Norse skil distinction; related to Middle Low German schēle, Middle Dutch geschil difference

Derived forms of skill

  • skill-less or skilless, adjective

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