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[skil] /skɪl/
the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well:
Carpentry was one of his many skills.
competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity:
The dancers performed with skill.
a craft, trade, or job requiring manual dexterity or special training in which a person has competence and experience:
the skill of cabinetmaking.
Obsolete. understanding; discernment.
Obsolete. reason; cause.
Origin of skill1
1125-75; Middle English < Old Norse skil distinction, difference; cognate with Dutch geschil difference, quarrel. See skill2
1. proficiency, facility. 2. deftness, cleverness.
1. inability.


[skil] /skɪl/
verb (used without object), Archaic.
to matter.
to help; avail.
1150-1200; Middle English skilien < Old Norse skilja to distinguish, divide, akin to skil (see skill1), Old English scylian to separate, Gothic skilja butcher, Lithuanian skélti to split Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for skills
  • Second, let's identify the set of skills that are fundamental to safe and responsible teaching.
  • When the price is high, and money abundant, their skills seem less useful and their fees more extortionate.
  • Building a rotating barrel composting unit requires more skills than building mesh or wooden holding bins.
  • One lesson is that nature provide us with the best skills.
  • Teaching research skills is motivating if the topic is in the sciences.
  • Building the obelisk isn't that difficult if you have good tools and basic carpentry skills.
  • My skills do not lean in the direction of drawing, and never have.
  • Think of a résumé as a compelling introduction of your experiences and skills as they relate to a particular career or job.
  • The skills from this sort of education may not be useful for a large fraction of the population.
  • In this lesson, students will practice map-reading skills.
British Dictionary definitions for skills


special ability in a task, sport, etc, esp ability acquired by training
something, esp a trade or technique, requiring special training or manual proficiency
(obsolete) understanding
Derived Forms
skill-less, skilless, adjective
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse skil distinction; related to Middle Low German schēle, Middle Dutch geschil difference
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for skills



late 12c., "power of discernment," from Old Norse skil "distinction, ability to make out, discernment, adjustment," related to skilja (v.) "to separate; discern, understand," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo- "divide, separate" (cf. Swedish skäl "reason," Danish skjel "a separation, boundary, limit," Middle Low German schillen "to differ," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schele "separation, discrimination;" see shell (n.)). Sense of "ability, cleverness" first recorded early 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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