Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Skill and grace in physical movement, especially in the use of the hands; adroitness.
  • n. Mental skill or adroitness; cleverness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Skill in performing tasks, especially with the hands.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Right-handedness.
  • n. Readiness and grace in physical activity; skill and ease in using the hands; expertness in manual acts.
  • n. Readiness in the use or control of the mental powers; quickness and skill in managing any complicated or difficult affair; adroitness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Greater facility in using the right hand than the left; right-handedness.
  • n. Manual skill; skill in using the hands, especially in mechanical or artistic work; hence, physical suppleness or adroitness in general; that readiness in action which proceeds from experience or practice, united with activity or precision of motion.
  • n. Mental adroitness or skill; cleverness; promptness in devising expedients; quickness and skill in managing or conducting a scheme of operations.
  • n. Synonyms Address, facility, faculty, tact, cleverness, aptness, aptitude, ability, art, knack.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. adroitness in using the hands

Etymologies

French dextérité, from Latin dexteritās, from dexter, skillful; see dexter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin dexteritas, from dexter ("on the right") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They must nourish those whose eye or ear or manual dexterity is their greatest asset.

    Education for a Classless Society

  • Her dexterity is not notable either in comparison with the normal person, whose movements are guided by the eye, or, I am told, with other blind people.

    The Story of My Life

  • Our language expresses this supremacy of the favoured side in the terms dexterity, adroitness and address, all of which allude to the right hand.

    The Life of the Spider

  • Peter Sellers’ comic dexterity is on display in three decidedly different roles, and George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden are also drop-dead funny in caricatures of trigger-happy military types.

    Eric’s Top 10 Movies You Can Watch Over and Over Again » Scene-Stealers

  • His dexterity was a beautiful sight; but on looking back I wondered how human beings ever devised to cross such a flood.

    The Hawaiian Archipelago

  • One day, meditating on this melancholy subject, I exercised myself in throwing stones at the trunks of trees, with my usual dexterity, that is to say, without hitting any of them.

    The Confessions of J J Rousseau

  • Recalling the dexterity of the native -- all the more wonderful because of his bulk -- he reflected, that it was the easiest thing in the world for him to turn like a flash and pierce him with his poisoned javelin before the slightest defence could be made.

    The Land of Mystery

  • He will outwit you, but his dexterity is a giant's -- a simple evolution rapidly performed: and nothing so much perplexes pygmies!

    The Tragic Comedians — Volume 2

  • The serf upon whom Ivan was about to exercise his dexterity was a man of five or six-and-thirty, red of hair and beard, a little above average height.

    Celebrated Crimes (Complete)

  • I exercised myself in throwing stones at the trunks of trees, with my usual dexterity, that is to say, without hitting any of them.

    The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Complete

Comments

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  • sionnach's definition is.

    October 19, 2009

  • Why is this tagged madeupical?

    October 19, 2009

  • I would say very rare; it seems the author forgot the word posterity.

    October 19, 2009

  • also n. (rare) the future, esp. in phrase persevered for dexterity. Example:

    I spent my first full day in Korea at the tomb of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, yearning for the Red Sun of all mankind and seeing him persevered for dexterity.
    At Last, At Last My Visit to the DPRK!

    October 13, 2009

  • fastidiousness in a serial killer

    October 24, 2007