Definition of deft in English:

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Pronunciation: /deft/


1Neatly skillful and quick in one’s movements: a deft piece of footwork
More example sentences
  • Then, with a quick and deft movement, Viktor slapped Erik hard across the face.
  • We were even regaled by a lovely Thai dancer whose deft hand movements and graceful demeanour enthralled the group.
  • Women carrying babies, dancing in groups, peeling fresh pineapples with a few deft movements.
1.1Demonstrating skill and cleverness: the script was both deft and literate
More example sentences
  • She also demonstrated a deft skill in reporting on daily activity.
  • If it sounds unbearable, then my deft skill at description remains tip top.
  • Adding a touch of thrill to the programme was a magic show by students who amazed visitors with their deft skills.
skillful, adept, adroit, dexterous, agile, nimble, handy;
able, capable, skilled, proficient, accomplished, expert, polished, slick, professional, masterly;
clever, shrewd, astute, canny, sharp
informal nifty, neat



Pronunciation: /ˈdef(t)nəs/
Example sentences
  • A post-graduate in music and law, he handled the only percussion instrument to be featured with deftness of a master.
  • If you want a memoir where you're swept along by verbal deftness and narrative skill, look elsewhere.
  • Military strength is part of that power, but so is diplomatic deftness.


Middle English: variant of daft, in the obsolete sense 'meek'.

  • daft from Old English:

    In Old English a daft person was mild and gentle, qualities which tougher folk have often interpreted as signs of foolishness or mental incapacity. Deft (Middle English) was a related word, which first meant ‘mild, meek’ as well as ‘skilful’. Daft came to refer to lack of intelligence during the Middle Ages, and from the 16th century it could also imply madness. It could also mean playfulness—the festivities of Christmas used to be referred to as the daft days. See also crazy, silly

Words that rhyme with deft

bereft, cleft, eft, heft, klepht, left, reft, theft, weft

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: deft

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