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Daft, not deft

By Debra Dobbins

“Deft” means to be “skillful in a quick, sure and easy way; dexterous,” according to Webster's. Courtesy of Cambridge Dictionaries Online, here are some examples of “deft” in sentences:

“She answered the journalist's questions with a deft touch.
He's very deft at handling awkward situations.”

Yesterday I was not deft. In fact, I was quite close to being daft. (Those who don't know the definition of “daft” may look it up for themselves; I can't bear to define it today.) My excuse for the temporary aberration from my usually rational self was the fact that we “sprang forward.” My internal clock is still adjusting.

I can take slight consolation in knowing that “deft” and “daft” come from the same Old English word “(ge)dæfte,” which meant mild or gentle. (As with other words, minor changes in spelling led to major differences in meaning.) I would like to think I was at least (ge)dæfte yesterday.

Now, with a full Monday workload, there's no time for daftness and even being (ge)dæfte is looking iffy. Judging by my typos, I've yet to be deft. I definitely hope, though, that “brighter” days lie ahead.

Illustration special to the Sentinel


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