• Skill


    • IPA: /skɪl/
    • Rhymes: -ɪl

    Origin 1

    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 *skilōną, *skiljaną ("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").

    Full definition of skill


    1. (transitive) To set apart; separate.
    2. (transitive, chiefly dialectal) To discern; have knowledge or understanding; to know how (to).
      • unknown date Herbert:I can not skill of these thy ways.
    3. (transitive) To know; to understand.
      • Barrowto skill the arts of expressing our mind
    4. (intransitive) To have knowledge or comprehension; discern.
    5. (intransitive) To have personal or practical knowledge; be versed or practised; be expert or dextrous.
    6. (intransitive, archaic) To make a difference; signify; matter.
      • unknown date Herbert:What skills it, if a bag of stones or gold
        About thy neck do drown thee?
      • unknown date Sir Walter Scott:It skills not talking of it.


    • (separate) split (call management systems)

    Origin 2

    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") and schillen ("to sperate the outer layer (schil) from the product", v.).



    (countable and uncountable; plural skills)
    1. Capacity to do something well; technique, ability. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate.
    2. (obsolete) Discrimination; judgment; propriety; reason; cause.
    3. (obsolete) Knowledge; understanding.
    4. (obsolete) Display of art; exercise of ability; contrivance; address.
      • Henry Blake Fuller?? (1857-1929)Richard...by a thousand princely skills, gathering so much corn as if he meant not to return.

    Derived terms



    1. (UK, slang) great, excellent
      • 1987, Teresa Maughan, Letters (in Your Sinclair issue 18, June 1987)Well, unfortunately for you, my dearest Waggipoos, I'm much more skill than you!
      • 1991, Wreckers (video game review in Crash issue 88, May 1991)This game is skill. Remember that because it's going to sound really complicated.
      • 1999, "Andy Smith", I am well skill (on Internet newsgroup alt.digitiser)And I am skiller than you.


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