dex·ter·ous (dĕkstər-əs, -strəs) also dex·trous (-strəs)
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.]
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.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus