dexterity (uncount): skill in using your hands or your mind

You need good manual dexterity to be a dentist.

mental/verbal dexterity

skillful (adj): ​(of a person) good at doing something, especially something that needs a particular ability or special training

a skillful player/performer/teacher

Ok, say you and your child were playing a game of stacking toys.

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He tried but didn't succeed. The stack fell off every time he tried.

Do we say "you need good manual dexterity" or "you need to be skillful"?


Do we say "you need good manual dexterity" or "you need to be skillful"?


You are eating a apple, your mom could say "fruit is good for you" or "apples are good for you"

manual dexterity is simply one skill among many. The wording of 'manual dexterity" is a bit formal and and almost medical so you probably wouldn't say it to a small child but I imagine a teacher saying this to a parent to praise the child.

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  • so what is common informal way of saying "dexterity"? is it "skillful"? – Tom Feb 17 at 14:11
  • English is a weird language in that often the formal/medical word is the only one that is both precise and correct. So there isn't really a informal version of "dexterity". Yes you could use "manual skill" but that also includes coarser movements than is implied with dexterity. FYI the -full suffix turns a word from noun to adjective, you have dexterity but are skillfull. – Borgh Feb 17 at 14:18
  • In my native language we have a specific word for "being dangerously cold" and the literal translation is "undercooled". It is a easy word that sounds both informal but still carries the medical meaning. In English you just have the latin loanword "hypothermia". – Borgh Feb 17 at 14:20
  • Skill is not exactly synonymous with 'dexterity'. – Michael Harvey Feb 17 at 18:19

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