From Middle English skill, skille (also schil, schile), from Old English scille and Old Norse skil (“a distinction, discernment, knowledge”), from Proto-Germanic *skilją (“separation, limit”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kelH- (“to split, cut”). Cognate with Danish skel (“a separation, boundary, divide”), Swedish skäl (“reason”), Dutch verschil (“difference”) and schillen (“to separate the outer layer (schil) from the product”, verb).
- skil (obsolete)
- Capacity to do something well; technique, ability. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate.
- Synonyms: ability, talent; see also Thesaurus:skill
- Where did you pick up that skill?
- With great skill, she navigated through the tricky passage.
- Doing that coaching course not only taught me useful skills on the field, but also some important life skills.
- c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], page 45:
- I have heard the French-man hath good skill in his rapier.
- 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], →OCLC:
- Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. Indeed, a nail filed sharp is not of much avail as an arrowhead; you must have it barbed, and that was a little beyond our skill.
- 2013 November 26, Simon Hoggart, “Araucaria's last puzzle: crossword master dies”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 26, page 43:
- The skill was not in creating a grid full of words, but in producing clues cryptic enough to baffle the puzzler, yet constructed so honestly that they could be solved by any intelligent person who knew the conventions.
- (obsolete) Discrimination; judgment; propriety; reason; cause.
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book II, Canto I”, in The Faerie Queene. […], London: […] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 54:
- Him so I sought, and so at last I fownd
Where him that witch had thralled to her will,
In chaines of lust and lewde desyres ybownd
And so transformed from his former skill,
That me he knew not, nether his owne ill;
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene vii]:
- Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful; for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. […]
- (obsolete) Knowledge; understanding.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC:
- […] This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise
- 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide:
- 'I kenna whatna man ye are,' he says, 'but ye have the skill of lassies' hearts. Tell me truly, is there no way to win her to common love?'
- (obsolete) Display of art; exercise of ability; contrivance; address.
- 1639, Thomas Fuller, “Richard of England and Philip of France Set Forward to the Holy Land; the Danger of the Interviews of Princes”, in The Historie of the Holy Warre, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: […] Thomas Buck, one of the printers to the Universitie of Cambridge [and sold by John Williams, London], →OCLC, book III, page 118:
- Richard was well ſtored with men, the bones; and quickly got money, the ſinews of warre; by a thousand Princely ſkills gathering ſo much coin as if he meant not to return, becauſe looking back would unbowe his reſolution.
- Dreyfus model of skill acquisition
- game of skill
- hard skill
- person having ordinary skill in the art
- person of ordinary skill in the art
- skilful, skillful
- skill ceiling
- skill floor
- skill issue
- skill monkey
- skill point
- skill set
- skill shot
- skill tester
- skill tester
- skill tree
- skill up
- soft skill
- splinter skill
- transferable skill
- (UK, slang) Great, excellent. [1980s–1990s]
- 1987 June, Teresa Maughan, “Letters”, in Your Sinclair, number 18:
- 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”, in alt.digitiser (Usenet):
- And I am skiller than you.
From Middle English skilen (also schillen), partly from Old English scilian (“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)kelH- (“to split, cut”). Cognate with Danish skille (“to separate, discard”), Swedish skilja (“to distinguish, differentiate, part”), Icelandic skilja (“to understand”), Low German schelen (“to make a difference; to be squint-eyed”), Dutch schelen (“to make a difference”).
- (transitive) To set apart; separate.
- (transitive, chiefly dialectal) To discern; have knowledge or understanding; to know how (to).
- (transitive, dialectal, Scotland, Northern England, rare) To know; to understand.
- 1613, Breadalbane Letters, Documents:
- As for the virginals I have none here that skill of them, except the young lord.
- 17th century, Isaac Barrow, “On Industry in Our Particular Calling as Scholars,”
- […] to skill the arts of expressing our mind and imparting our conceptions with advantage, so as to instruct or persuade others […]
- (intransitive) To have knowledge or comprehension; discern.
- (intransitive) To have personal or practical knowledge; be versed or practised; be expert or dextrous.
- (intransitive, archaic) To make a difference; signify; matter.
- 1592, Richard Turnbull, An Exposition upon the Canonicall Epistle of Saint Jude, London: John Windet, Sermon 5, p. 67:
- So then the whole scripture of God, being true, whence soever this be delivered and gathered, it skilleth not […]
- c. 1601–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i]:
- […] I should have given’t you to-day morning, but as a madman’s epistles are no gospels, so it skills not much when they are delivered.
- (video games) To spend acquired points in exchange for skills.
- (separate): split (call management systems)
- imperative of