She is apt at solving puzzles quickly.

Does it make sense? I can't find this definition in a dictionary.

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    @Lambie - I wonder if the OP is reaching for adept, which is, after all, usually followed by 'at'. Commented Mar 4 at 18:50
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    Source of this quote please, or the question is incomplete and should be closed.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 4 at 19:09
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    Please, please do not ask questions from AI. Thanks.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4 at 20:15
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    @Lambie I don't know that that needs to be a rule. Not answering with AI is a hot topic, but there are many cases in which people find questionable usage and want either to have it confirmed or to know that it's not a good idea. Commented Mar 4 at 20:17
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    @AndyBonner They need to state it and give a link or name. Not just throw it up here.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4 at 20:18

4 Answers 4


Google ngrams shows that while "apt at [verb]" is not without examples, it was far more common in the 19th century, and that most uses of "apt to" are and have always been far more common. I don't think we can say that the example you found is "wrong," since we can find similar examples in human-generated content, but these graphs together with the dictionaries should make it clear that it's not the best usage for today.


"Apt" means suitable or appropriate, or definition two, with "to", likely or having a tendency to.

As in, definition 1, "Walking out was an apt response to such an insult." Definition two, "She is apt to pout when she is offended."

Neither definition really makes sense in the sentence you give. I wonder if you are confused with the word "adept", which means skilled or expert. "She is adept at solving puzzles" is a good logical sentence: she is very skillful at solving puzzles.

There may be some old or rarely used definition of "apt" where your example sentence would make sense, but if so it's obscure and most English speakers would not understand you.

You could say, "She is apt TO solve puzzles quickly", meaning, if she encounters a puzzle, she has a tendency to solve it quickly, but that would be an odd thing to say. You would be more likely to want to say that she is able to solve puzzles quickly, that she is skilled at solving puzzles quickly, rather than that this is some odd habit she has. I suppose it might depend on the context and what you're trying to say. But as I say, the original author probably meant "adept" or got confused about "apt" vs "adept".


It's fine, "apt" is an adjective, though as you can see from the different meanings below, esp. 1, 3, and 4, it does not specifically pertain to the context of the example sentence.

It's more of a combination of the meanings that makes it usable. It's also not commonly used in speech, so this construct would be more likely found in a written form.

The specific syntax would probably be slightly different as well, just depending on intent. The provided example tends towards meaning #3, whereas it's likely that the desired meaning is closer to #1, which would suggest a minor re-wording. E.g. "She is apt to solve puzzles quickly."


1: unusually fitted or qualified : ready proved an apt tool in the hands of the conspirators

2a: having a tendency : likely plants apt to suffer from drought 2b: ordinarily disposed : inclined apt to accept what is plausible as true

3: suited to a purpose especially : being to the point an apt quotation

4: keenly intelligent and responsive an apt pupil


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    Yes, an apt puzzle solver, but not: to be apt at something. It's not idiomatic.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4 at 19:00
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    Note, from MW: "Both liable and apt when followed by an infinitive are used nearly interchangeably with likely." So "apt to" is entry #2. The AI seems to have intended meaning 4, and yes, used it in a non-idiomatic way. Commented Mar 4 at 20:03
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    Thanks @Joachim, remedied! Commented Mar 5 at 22:50

to be apt at {something} is relatively uncommon and sounds very dated to my American English ear, but it is still being used in the 21st c.

Examples: apt at crossword puzzles, apt at figures, apt at using exodus motifs, apt at languages, apt at illustration, apt at decorating

It is the opposite of inapt at.

  • Wow, today I learned that's a real word! It really looks like it should be a typo for "inept," but the dictionary merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inapt lists it both as a synonym and as having its own subtly different meaning. +1 :) Commented Mar 5 at 5:15

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