deft deft (d[e^]ft), a. [OE. daft, deft, becoming, mild, gentle, stupid (cf. OE. daffe, deffe, fool, coward), AS. d[ae]ft (in derivatives only) mild, gentle, fitting, seasonable; akin to dafen, gedafen, becoming, fit, Goth. gadaban to be fit. Cf. {Daft}, {Daff}, {Dapper}.] 1. Apt; fit; spruce; neat. [Archaic or Poetic] ``The deftest way.'' --Shak. ``Deftest feats.'' --Gay. [1913 Webster]

Let me be deft and debonair. --Byron. [1913 Webster]

2. dexterous; clever; handy; as, a deft feat of legerdemain. [PJC]

The limping god, so deft at his new ministry. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • deft — [ deft ] adjective deft movements are made quickly and with skill a. moving quickly and with skill: a deft yachtswoman deft at doing something: a chef who is extremely deft at producing original dishes ╾ deft|ly adverb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • deft — [deft] adj written [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: daft] 1.) a deft movement is skilful, and often quick ▪ He sketched her with quick, deft strokes. ▪ deft footwork 2.) skilful at doing something ▪ his deft chairmanship of the company >deftly adv… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • deft. — «dehft», adjective. quick and skillful in action; nimble; clever: »The fingers of a violinist or surgeon must be deft. ... one of the deftest juggling performances since the late W. C. Fields laid aside his Indian clubs (Time). SYNONYM(S): See… …   Useful english dictionary

  • deft — deft·ly; deft·ness; deft; …   English syllables

  • deft — [deft] adj. [ME defte, dafte: see DAFT] skillful in a quick, sure, and easy way; dexterous SYN. DEXTEROUS deftly adv. deftness n …   English World dictionary

  • deft — I adjective able, accomplished, adept, adroit, agile, apt, canny, capable, clever, competent, cunning, dexterous, efficient, expert, facile, flexible, gifted, good at, handy, ingenious, light, masterful, masterly, nimble, nimble fingered,… …   Law dictionary

  • deft — (adj.) O.E. gedæfte mild, gentle, differentiated in Middle English into DAFT (Cf. daft) (q.v.) and this word, via sense of apt, skillful, adept. Cognate with Goth. gadaban to be fit, O.N. dafna to grow strong, Du. deftig important, relevant …   Etymology dictionary

  • deft — adj. adept, skillful; dexterous, agile, nimble …   English contemporary dictionary

  • deft — *dexterous, adroit, handy Analogous words: nimble, *agile, brisk: *quick, ready, apt, prompt: skillful, skilled, adept, *proficient: sure, assured, *confidçnt Antonyms: awkward Contrasted words: clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche (see …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • deft — [deft] adj done quickly and with skill deftly adv …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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