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

  • n. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. See Synonyms at ability.
  • n. An art, trade, or technique, particularly one requiring use of the hands or body.
  • n. A developed talent or ability: writing skills.
  • n. Obsolete A reason; a cause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Capacity to do something well; technique, ability. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate.
  • adj. great, excellent
  • v. To set apart; separate.
  • v. To discern; have knowledge or understanding; to know how (to).
  • v. To have knowledge or comprehension; discern.
  • v. To have personal or practical knowledge of; be versed or practised; be expert or dextrous.
  • v. To make a difference; signify; matter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Discrimination; judgment; propriety; reason; cause.
  • n. Knowledge; understanding.
  • n. The familiar knowledge of any art or science, united with readiness and dexterity in execution or performance, or in the application of the art or science to practical purposes; power to discern and execute; ability to perceive and perform; expertness; aptitude
  • n. Display of art; exercise of ability; contrivance; address.
  • n. Any particular art.
  • intransitive v. To be knowing; to have understanding; to be dexterous in performance.
  • intransitive v. To make a difference; to signify; to matter; -- used impersonally.
  • transitive v. To know; to understand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set apart; separate.
  • Hence, to discern; have knowledge or understanding (to); know how: usually with an infinitive.
  • To have perception or comprehension; have understanding; discern: followed by of or on.
  • To have personal and practical knowledge (of); be versed or practised; hence, to be expert or dexterous: commonly followed by of.
  • To make difference; signify; matter: used impersonally, and generally with a negative.
  • n. The discriminating or reasoning faculty; the mind.
  • n. Discriminative power; discernment; understanding; reason; wit.
  • n. Reasonableness; propriety; rightness; justice; proper course; wise measure; also, rightful claim; right.
  • n. Reasoning; argument; proof; also, cause; reason.
  • n. Practical knowledge and ability; power of action or execution; readiness and excellence in applying wisdom or science to practical ends; expertness; dexterity.
  • n. A particular power, ability, or art; a gift or attainment; an accomplishment.
  • n. That for which one is specially qualified; one's forte.
  • n. Synonyms Facility, knack. See adroit.

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

  • n. an ability that has been acquired by training
  • n. ability to produce solutions in some problem domain


Middle English skil, from Old Norse, discernment; see skel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English skilen (also schillen), partly from Old English scylian, scielian ("to separate, part, divide off"); and partly from Old Norse skilja ("to divide, separate"); both from Proto-Germanic *skilōnan, *skiljanan (“to divide, limit”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kalǝ-, *(s)kelǝ- (“to split, cut”). Cognate with Danish skille ("to separate, discard"), Swedish skilja ("to distinguish, differentiate, part"), Icelandic skilja ("to understand"), Dutch schelen ("to make a difference"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English skill, skille (also schil, schile), from Old English *scile and Old Norse skil ("a distinction, discernment, knowledge"), from Proto-Germanic *skilin (“separation, limit”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kalǝ-, *(s)kelǝ- (“to split, cut”). Cognate with Danish skel ("a separation, boundary, divide"), Swedish skäl ("reason"), Dutch verschil ("difference").Dutch schillen (verb) ("to sperate the outer layer (schil) from the product"). (Wiktionary)


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