Friday, February 13, 2004

Here's a word you don't see much anymore: sleight.

Why? It's often confused with the more common slight.

Sleight is the word you're looking for in the phrase "sleight of hand," however. It means "deceitful craftiness" or "dexterity, skill."

Sleight of hand gets its own definition in Merriam-Webster's:
1 a : a conjuring trick requiring manual dexterity b : a cleverly executed trick or deception
2 a : skill and dexterity in conjuring tricks b : adroitness in deception
Slight means having a slim build.

So someone who is slight of hand would just have dainty hands. While that might help their slight of hand, the two definitions remain distinct.


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