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dex·ter·ous (dĕkstər-əs, -strəs) also dex·trous (-strəs)
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adj.
1. Skillful in the use of the hands.
2. Having mental skill or adroitness.
3. Done with dexterity: a dexterous maneuver.

[From Latin dexter, skillful; see DEXTER.]

dexter·ous·ly adv.
dexter·ous·ness n.

Synonyms: dexterous, deft, adroit, handy, nimble
These adjectives refer to skill and ease in performance. Dexterous implies physical or mental agility: dexterous fingers; a dexterous debater.
Deft suggests quickness, sureness, neatness, and lightness of touch: deft strokes; a deft turn of phrase.
Adroit implies ease and natural skill, especially in challenging situations: an adroit skier; an adroit negotiator.
Handy suggests a more modest aptitude, principally in manual work: handy with tools.
Nimble stresses quickness and lightness in physical or mental performance: nimble feet; nimble wits.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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