mag·​is·​te·​ri·​al ˌma-jə-ˈstir-ē-əl How to pronounce magisterial (audio)
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a master or teacher : authoritative
: marked by an overbearingly dignified or assured manner or aspect
: of, relating to, or required for a master's degree
: of or relating to a magistrate or a magistrate's office or duties
magisterially adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for magisterial

dictatorial, magisterial, dogmatic, doctrinaire, oracular mean imposing one's will or opinions on others.

dictatorial stresses autocratic, high-handed methods and a domineering manner.

exercised dictatorial control over the office

magisterial stresses assumption or use of prerogatives appropriate to a magistrate or schoolmaster in forcing acceptance of one's opinions.

the magisterial tone of his pronouncements

dogmatic implies being unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing opinions.

dogmatic about what is art and what is not

doctrinaire implies a disposition to follow abstract theories in framing laws or policies affecting people.

a doctrinaire approach to improving the economy

oracular implies the manner of one who delivers opinions in cryptic phrases or with pompous dogmatism.

a designer who is the oracular voice of fashion

Examples of magisterial in a Sentence

He spoke with a magisterial tone. a magisterial biography of Thomas Jefferson that has never been superseded
Recent Examples on the Web Ephemeral greatness preserved, artistic values clarified and magisterial writing demonstrating, through its own excellence, what ought to matter. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Justin Mohn was denied bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 8, according to a criminal docket filed with a magisterial district judge. Jintak Han, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2024 Where Close as Merteuil is scornfully magisterial, Bening is silkily sly, half-kitten, half-snake. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023 In that gripping, magisterial account, Grann chronicled in sickening detail how a group of Osage Indians in 1920s Oklahoma were exploited, terrorized and murdered in a series of mysterious crimes. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2023 In a neighborhood filled with exceptional civic architecture, the building looked all the more graceless beside Arthur Erickson’s monumental Canadian Embassy and across the street from John Russell Pope’s magisterial National Gallery of Art and I.M. Pei’s East Building. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Robert Osborne, in his magisterial history of the Oscars, wrote that the jams were so titanically awful that exasperated A-listers in all their gleaming finery ankled their limos and hoofed it down sweltering neighborhood streets to the auditorium. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2023 The sheer intensity of the filmmaker’s gaze seems to illuminate his tragedy from within, elevating it into something tender and magisterial, a tableau of transcendence. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 8 Oct. 2023 Having admired Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s magisterial 2005 study American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, I was encouraged to learn that Nolan used it as the basis for his screenplay. Martin Filler, The New York Review of Books, 21 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'magisterial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin magisterialis of authority, from magisterium office of a master, from magister

First Known Use

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of magisterial was in 1635

Dictionary Entries Near magisterial

Cite this Entry

“Magisterial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mag·​is·​te·​ri·​al ˌmaj-ə-ˈstir-ē-əl How to pronounce magisterial (audio)
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a master or teacher
: of or relating to a magistrate or the office or duties of a magistrate
magisterially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on magisterial

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