Borrowed from French adroit, from French à (“on the; to”) (from Old French a (“to; towards”), from Latin ad (“to; towards”), from Proto-Indo-European *ád (“at; near”)) + French droit (“right”) (from Old French droit, dreit, from Vulgar Latin *drēctus, syncopated form of Latin dīrectus (“laid straight; direct, straight; level; upright”), perfective passive participle of dīrigō (“to lay straight”), from dis- (“apart, in two”) (from Proto-Indo-European *dwís (“twice; in two”)) + regō (“to govern, rule; to guide, steer”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₃réǵeti (“to be straightening, setting upright”))).
- Deft, dexterous, or skillful.
1803, William Hogarth; Thomas Cook, engraver, “Southwark Fair”, in Anecdotes of Mr. Hogarth, and Explanatory Descriptions of the Plates of Hogarth Restored. Engraved by Thomas Cook, London: Printed for the engraver, no. 38, Tavistock Street, Covent Garden; and G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster Row, OCLC 4772793, page 2:
- A ſimple lad, with a whip in one hand, and the other locked in the arm of a young girl, is ſo loſt in gaping aſtoniſhment, that an adroit branch of the family of the Filches is clearing his pockets of their contents.
1829, Robert Taylor, “[Appendix:] False Representations”, in The Diegesis; being a Discovery of Origin, Evidences, and Early History of Christianity. Never before or elsewhere so Fully and Faithfully Set Forth, London: Richard Carlile, 62, Fleet Street; John Brooks, 421, Oxford Street, OCLC 5193115, page 424:
- [W]hile the press has teemed with a thousand better modes of defending Christianity, unbelievers had been asleep all the while, and dreamed of no adroiter methods of attacking it: […]
1851 October 18, Herman Melville, “Stubb’s Supper”, in The Whale, 1st British edition, London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 14262177; Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, 14 November 1851, OCLC 57395299, footnote, page 325:
- By adroit management the wooden float is made to rise on the other side of the mass, so that now having girdled the whale, the chain is readily made to follow suit; and being slipped along the body, is at last locked fast round the smallest part of the tail, at the point of junction with its broad flukes or lobes.
1966, Denys Hay, Europe in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, London: Longmans, Green & Co., OCLC 468555254:
- [O]ne basic economic problem defeated the ingenuity of even the adroitest Italian bankers – the balance of payments. It often happened that the exchange of commodies was so uneven that there were no funds in Bruges to settle accounts in Florence.
2012, William Diver, “Phonology as Human Behavior”, in Alan Huffman and Joseph Davis, editors, Language: Communication and Human Behavior: The Linguistic Essays of William Diver, Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 978-90-04-20858-2, page 308:
- [A] person is called right-handed because his right hand is more adroit than his left; confronted by any task requiring precision of control, wielding a tennis racket or a pencil, the right-handed person uses his right hand. Similarly, as among lip, apex of the tongue and dorsum, it is apparent that the apex is the most adroit of the three. It is not surprising then that, as has often been remarked, the apical sounds are generally more frequent than the others.
- “adroit” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).