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dexterous

[dek-struh s, -ster-uh s] /ˈdɛk strəs, -stər əs/
adjective
1.
skillful or adroit in the use of the hands or body.
2.
having mental adroitness or skill; clever.
3.
done with skill or adroitness.
Also, dextrous.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; < Latin dexter right-hand, skillful + -ous
Related forms
dexterously, adverb
dexterousness, noun
nondexterous, adjective
nondexterously, adverb
nondexterousness, noun
undexterous, adjective
undexterously, adverb
undexterousness, noun
Can be confused
dexterous, dextrose (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. deft, nimble, handy. 1, 2. expert, apt, able, quick. Dexterous, adroit, deft, skillful, handy all imply facility and ease in performance. Dexterous and adroit both referred originally to right-handedness. Dexterous is still most often used to refer to manual or physical ability but can also refer to mental or social agility: a dexterous wood carver; dexterous management of a potentially embarrassing situation. Adroit implies cleverness or mental acuity, occasionally complex physical skill: an adroit politician; an adroit juggler. Deft suggests a light and assured touch, either physical or mental: deft manipulation of the sensitive controls, of public opinion. Skillful is the most general of these synonyms and can be substituted in most contexts for any of the foregoing, sacrificing only the overtones or connotations of each: a skillful performer. Handy applies mainly to physical skill, often achieved without formal training: handy with tools.
Antonyms
1. clumsy. 2. inept. 3. awkward.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for dexterous
  • And as they become cleverer and more dexterous, they are starting to move from factories to offices and homes.
  • They were few in number, but extremely dexterous.
  • It requires a cell phone with Bluetooth, dexterous fingers, a strong grip and patience.
  • It takes a dexterous hand to coax a whip to crack.
  • The little palmtops suffered from poor-quality screens and keyboards that defeat all but the most dexterous executive digits.
  • But the lemurs were not especially dexterous.
  • dexterous implies physical or mental agility: dexterous fingers.
  • But his sight was failing, and his hands grew less dexterous.
  • And they are proving to be dexterous at drumming up fans and patrons over the Internet.
  • What makes us human is our intelligence combined with our dexterous hands.
British Dictionary definitions for dexterous

dexterous

/ˈdɛkstrəs/
adjective
1.
possessing or done with dexterity
2.
a rare word for right-handed
Derived Forms
dexterously, dextrously, adverb
dexterousness, dextrousness, noun
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 dexterous
adj.

c.1600, "convenient, suitable," formed in English from Latin dexter (see dexterity) + -ous. Meaning "skillful, clever" is from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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17
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