sleight of hand
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of sleight of hand
Words nearby sleight of hand
BEHIND THE PHRASE
What does sleight of hand mean?
Sleight of hand means skill using one’s hands in quick and clever ways to perform tricks or to be deceptive.
It can also refer to the performance of such tricks or a specific instance of it, as in Never have I seen a more impressive sleight of hand.
Sleight of hand can also mean general trickery or skill at deception. It’s associated not only with coin and card tricks that require skillful hand movements, but also with deceptive ways of stealing, such as pickpocketing.
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.
Example: The illusionist spent years perfecting his sleight of hand so that it was undetectable even at close range.
Where does sleight of hand come from?
The first records of the phrase sleight of hand come from the 1300s. Sleight is first recorded in the 1200s and 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 of hand requires extreme skill and nimbleness, which often take years of practice to perfect. But it also often relies on misdirection—meaning the distraction of the audience watching the trick. For this reason, it’s often used in figurative ways that liken an action or a way or speaking to a deceptive magic trick.
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.
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What are some synonyms for sleight of hand?
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What are some words that often get used in discussing sleight of hand?
What are some words sleight of hand may be commonly confused with?
How is sleight of hand used in real life?
Sleight of hand is commonly used in both literal and figurative ways.
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
"Kandasamy is showing us the sleight of hand in slow motion, and grinning from ear to ear as she does so." @snsyquia on @meenakandasamy's “When I Hit You” and “Exquisite Cadavers”: https://t.co/66sAWr5YNz pic.twitter.com/WYF3sYkKcR
— LA Review of Books (LARB) (@LAReviewofBooks) May 6, 2020
Try using sleight of hand!
Is sleight of hand used correctly in the following sentence?
By some sleight of hand, she has managed to convince the staff to work overtime without overtime pay.
Example sentences from the Web for sleight of hand
Eating disorders, on the other hand, are driven largely by biological processes that occur on the inside.How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models|Carrie Arnold|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
“After the New York mentality, it is the ultimate contrast to see people making things by hand,” he said.
Thankfully, his assistant knows these roads like the back of his hand.
The collection includes kimono capes and hand woven jump overalls.
Prices are relatively inexpensive and come in at around 135 euros for a shirt or 35 euros for hand woven boxers.
After relievedly giving the pistol to the nearest soldier, he stumbled quickly over to Brion and took his hand.Sense of Obligation|Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
She is quite true, but not wise, and your left hand must not know what your right hand is doing.Checkmate|Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The aged woman made no reply; her eyes still studied Ramona's face, and she still held her hand.Ramona|Helen Hunt Jackson
He came to the top of the stairs with a lamp in his hand, and wanted to know what the rumpus was about.The Bondboy|George W. (George Washington) Ogden
She was holding the back of her chair with one hand; her loose sleeve had slipped almost to the shoulder of her uplifted arm.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin
British Dictionary definitions for sleight of hand
Idioms and Phrases with sleight of hand
Trickery, deviousness, as in By some sleight of hand they managed to overlook all bonuses. This term alludes to the performance of magic tricks with the hands. Its figurative use dates from about 1700.