a. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience: painted with great skill.
b. A developed talent or ability: improved his writing skills.
c. An art, trade, or technique, particularly one requiring use of the hands or body: the skill of glassmaking.
2. Obsolete A reason; a cause.
[Middle English skil, from Old Norse, discernment; see skel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: skill, art1, craft, expertise, know-how, technique
These nouns denote great ability in doing or performing that is attained especially by study or practice: a shortstop legendary for his fielding skill; mosaics rendered with exquisite art; pottery that reveals an artist's craft; a woodworker with special expertise in parquet floors; mechanical know-how; played the violin with impeccable technique.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.