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Words nearby sleight
What does sleight mean?
Sleight means skill, especially with one’s hands (dexterity).
It can also mean trickery or cunning, or a specific trick or scheme.
Sleight is by far most commonly used in the phrase sleight of hand, whose meanings are very similar to those of sleight: manual dexterity, general trickery, or a trick performed with quick and skillful hand movements.
Sleight and sleight of hand are especially associated with coin and card tricks that require such hand movements. They’re also associated with deceptive ways of stealing, such as pickpocketing.
Sleight should not be confused with the word slight, which has the same pronunciation. As an adjective, slight means small or insignificant. As a noun, it commonly means the act of treating someone with indifference or snubbing them.
Example: The illusionist spent years perfecting his sleight so that it was undetectable even at close range.
Where does sleight come from?
The first records of sleight come from the 1200s. It comes from Old Norse slægth, from slægr, which means “sly” and originally had the meaning of “able to strike” or “able to slay.” In fact, the English words sly and slay are related to the same root.
Sleight can mean trickery, as in It takes great sleight to deceive me. It can also refer to a trick, as in Old magicians rarely see a sleight they haven’t seen before. Sleight is rarely used outside of its appearance in sleight of hand. When it’s used in sleight of hand, it means skill or nimbleness. But sleight of hand is frequently used in more figurative ways to criticize actions or words as deceptive, as in His comment is a clever sleight of hand intended to distract us from the real issue. It can also be used to compare something to a magic trick, as in Her literary sleight of hand is dazzling.
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How is sleight used in real life?
Sleight most commonly used in the phrase sleight of hand.
Jay Dodd’s “For Magicians Who Die On Stage,” is, simply, a gift. They write about sleight and deception and alcoholism and disappearing bodies and the spectacular: https://t.co/X9maVStUGY
— roxane gay (@rgay) September 6, 2019
Propaganda and brain washing work like sleight of hand magic: Point away from the important issue to distract and on details that don’t matter.
— Yaneer Bar-Yam (@yaneerbaryam) June 3, 2020
Few car chases top the wrong-way highway chase in William Friedkin’s ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ Here’s how they shot the iconic chase scene using hydraulic car-rigs, visual sleight-of-hand, and 900 (!) cars. https://t.co/9G2O29NROf
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) July 25, 2020
Try using sleight!
Is sleight used correctly in the following sentence?
I took it as a sleight when my contribution to the project was not acknowledged.
Example sentences from the Web for sleight
Brate studies the way Kelce moves, the subtle steps and sleights he uses to come open with staggering frequency, even when the defense knows his quarterback will probably target him.Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football. Just ask any NFL player.|Adam Kilgore|February 4, 2021|Washington Post
He said it met state carbon emissions reduction mandates by sleight of hand and was legal only on a technicality.
Like any good suspense novelist, Shields is a master of evasion and sleight-of-hand.
To posit that the war brings us closer to faith is a sleight of hand that makes fools of us all.
He does the heavy lifting, and she passes it off with a sleight of hand.
Catching Fire perpetuates an ideological vision that, today, is a sleight-of-hand.
This option creates bad optics as well, because it looks like the old pork-barrel log rolling and legislative sleight-of-hand.To Be or Not To Be…A Loser: Boehner’s Hamlet Moment|Joe McLean|October 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The old sleight-of-hand expert had stolen it, sure, and slipped it under his robe.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Complete|Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Just think: after five years of desertion, and trouble without end, and it all put right by a little sleight-of-hand.You Never Know Your Luck, Complete|Gilbert Parker
They were also adepts in tricks of sleight of hand, and had no mean acquaintance with what is called natural magic.The Myths of the New World|Daniel G. Brinton
This can be accomplished in several ways, either mechanically or purely by sleight of hand.The Boy Mechanic, Book 2|Various
He shot out his hand and produced his watch with the celerity of a sleight-of-hand performer.The Winning Clue|James Hay, Jr.