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sleight of hand

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noun
  1. skill in feats requiring quick and clever movements of the hands, especially for entertainment or deception, as jugglery, card or coin magic, etc.; legerdemain.
  2. the performance of such feats.
  3. a feat of legerdemain.
  4. skill in deception.
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Origin of sleight of hand

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sleight of hand

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The laugh which followed this sleight-of-hand was loud, long, and universal.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • It may be, that, as you would suspect, even this might be sleight-of-hand.

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • Being a sleight-of-hand performer, he can do things that you could not see.

  • I asked him how he accounted for this wonderful display of sleight-of-hand.

  • At sleight-of-hand he is far below the level of the average European performer.

    Indian Conjuring

    L. H. Branson


British Dictionary definitions for sleight of hand

sleight of hand

noun
  1. manual dexterity used in performing conjuring tricks
  2. the performance of such tricks
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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

Idioms and Phrases with sleight of hand

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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.