‘Skillset' or 'Skill Set': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 9, 2022

Is it ‘skillset’ or ‘skill set’? And what’s the difference between the two? We’ll cover that below, plus teach you the meaning of both phrases and how to use them both in a sentence correctly.

The short answer is that ‘skill set’ is the only appropriate spelling of the word.

‘Skillset’ or ‘Skill Set’ – Is It One Word or Two?

As you just learned, the phrase is spelled as two words – not one.

‘Skillset’ or ‘Skill Set’ – Which is Correct?

Now that you know that it’s two words and not one, you know the correct spelling of the phrase is with a space. That’s because it’s a compound word.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Skill’ 

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘skill’ is: “the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance,” “dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks,” “learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability,” and “cause, reason.”

As a verb, it’s defined as: “to make a difference: matter, avail.”

The word has a few synonyms, such as:

  • Adeptness
  • Artfulness
  • Adroitness
  • Artifice
  • Craft
  • Cleverness
  • Deftness
  • Masterfulness
  • Cunning
  • Skillfulness
  • Artistry
  • Art

Definition and Meaning of ‘Set’ 

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘set’ is: “to cause to sit: place in or on a seat,” “to put (a fowl) on eggs to hatch them,” “to put (eggs) for hatching under a fowl or into an incubator,” “to place (oneself) in position to start running a race,” “to place with care or deliberate purpose and with relative stability,” transplant,” “to make (a trap) ready to catch prey,” “to fix (a hook) firmly into the jaw of a fish,” “to put aside (something, such as dough containing yeast) for fermenting,” and “to direct with fixed attention.”

It also means “to cause to assume a specified condition, relation, or occupation,” “to cause the start of,” “to appoint or assign to an office or duty,” “post, station,” “to cause to assume a specified posture or position,” “to fix as a distinguishing imprint, sign, or appearance,” “affix,” “apply,” “to dix or decide on as a time, limit, or regulation: prescribe,” “to establish as the highest level or best performance,” “to furnish as a pattern or model,” and “to allot as a task.”

Other definitions include: “to adjust (a device and especially a measurable device) to the desired position,” “to spread the wind,” “to put in order for use,” “to put a fine edge on by grinding or honing,” “to fix in the desired position (as by heating or stretching),” “to arrange (hair) in the desired style by using implements (such as curlers, rollers, or clips) and gels or lotions,” “to hold something in regard or esteem at the rate of,” “to place in a relative rank or category,” “to fix at a certain amount,” and “to place in relation for comparison or balance.”

The intransitive verb form of the word is defined as: “chiefly dialectal: sit,” “to become: be suitable: fit,” “to cover and warm eggs to hatch them,” “to affect one with or as if with weight,” “to pass below the horizon: go down,” “to come to an end,” and “to apply oneself to some activity.”

Definition and Meaning of ‘Skill Set’ 

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘skill set’ is: “a set of skills especially: a collection of skills and abilities that can be applied to a professional or creative endeavor.”

Now that you know the meaning of both words and the phrase as a whole, we can look at how to use it in a sentence correctly.

How to Use ‘Skill Set’ in a Sentence 

Let’s see how we’d use ‘skill set’ properly in a sentence.

  • I don’t know what’s worse – her management style or her skill set.
  • My skill set covers a wide range of skills, including typing 90 words per minute and social media management.
  • If she doesn’t have the skill set, then she can’t be part of the team.
  • If you want a better position, you have to improve your skill set. Show them what you can do.
  • I’ve added a few skills to my skill set, just in case there’s tough competition for this position.
  • My skill set has grown tremendously since college. There’s so much more I can do now.

Final Thoughts on ‘Skill Set’

To recap, ‘skill set’ should always have a space between the words ‘skill’ and ‘set.’ Without that space, the spelling is technically incorrect.

So, remember always to add a space between the words. If you ever have trouble remembering, you can always come back here to refresh your memory.

We’ve also got a ton of other content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases in English. Come back whenever you need to.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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