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[dek-ster-i-tee] /dɛkˈstɛr ɪ ti/
skill or adroitness in using the hands or body; agility.
mental adroitness or skill; cleverness.
Origin of dexterity
1520-30; < Latin dexteritās readiness, equivalent to dexter- (stem of dexter) skillful + -itās -ity
Related forms
nondexterity, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dexterity
  • Her strength and dexterity in the ring, and her ability to knock out the toughest of fighters, won her fame and acceptance.
  • The most important thing for them to measure is basic literacy, manual dexterity and eyesight.
  • Turpin emerges as the star of this collection as he describes with resounding dexterity the tasks of his carpenter's life.
  • Manual dexterity and an attention to detail will be required.
  • It's not just that he writes with panache, his verbal dexterity a mixture of biting wit and potent insight.
  • This dexterity has allowed the coalition to prosper.
  • France's newly elected president is demonstrating his political dexterity.
  • The arms are too long and lanky to have any dexterity or strength.
  • He is a sensitive musician, but does not play with invariable dexterity.
  • The work of optometrists requires attention to detail and good manual dexterity.
British Dictionary definitions for dexterity


physical, esp manual, skill or nimbleness
mental skill or adroitness: cleverness
(rare) the characteristic of being right-handed
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dexteritās aptness, readiness, prosperity; see dexter1
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
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Word Origin and History for dexterity

1520s, from Middle French dexterité (16c.), from Latin dexteritatem (nominative dexteritas) "readiness, skillfulness, prosperity," from dexter "skillful," also "right (hand)" (source of Old French destre, Spanish diestro, etc.), from PIE root *deks- "on the right hand," hence "south" to one facing east (cf. Sanskrit daksinah "on the right hand, southern, skillful;" Avestan dashina- "on the right hand;" Greek dexios "on the right hand," also "fortunate, clever;" Old Irish dess "on the right hand, southern;" Welsh deheu; Gaulish Dexsiva, name of a goddess of fortune; Gothic taihswa; Lithuanian desinas; Old Church Slavonic desnu, Russian desnoj). The Latin form is with the comparative suffix -ter, thus meaning etymologically "the better direction." Middle English dester meant "right hand," and in heraldry dexter means "on the right side."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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