master

noun
mas·​ter | \ ˈma-stər How to pronounce master (audio) \

Definition of master

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : a male teacher
(2) : a person holding an academic degree higher than a bachelor's but lower than a doctor's also : the degree itself
b often capitalized : a revered religious leader
c : a worker or artisan qualified to teach apprentices — compare apprentice entry 1 sense 1b, journeyman sense 1
d(1) : an artist, performer, or player of consummate (see consummate entry 1 sense 1) skill
(2) : a great figure of the past (as in science or art) whose work serves as a model or ideal
2a : one having authority over another : ruler, governor This decisive battle left him master of Europe.
b : one that conquers or masters : victor, superior in the new challenger the champion found his master
c : a person licensed to command a merchant ship
d(1) : one having control proved himself master of the situation
(2) : an owner especially of a slave or animal
e : the employer especially of a servant
f(1) dialect : husband
(2) : the male head of a household
3a(1) archaic : mr.
(2) : a youth or boy too young to be called mister used as a title
b : the eldest son of a Scottish viscount or baron (see baron sense 2a)
4a : a presiding (see preside sense 2) officer in an institution or society (such as a college)
b : any of several officers of court appointed to assist (as by hearing and reporting) a judge
5a : a master mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) or device
b : an original from which copies can be made especially : a master recording (such as a magnetic tape)

master

adjective

Definition of master (Entry 2 of 3)

: being or relating to a master: such as
a : having chief authority : dominant
b : skilled, proficient a prosperous master builderCurrent Biography
d : superlative often used in combination a master-liar
e : being a device or mechanism that controls the operation of another mechanism or that establishes a standard (such as a dimension or weight)
f : being or relating to a master from which duplicates are made

master

verb
mastered; mastering\ ˈma-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce mastering (audio) \

Definition of master (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to become master of : overcome mastered his fears
2a : to become skilled or proficient in the use of master a foreign language
b : to gain a thorough understanding of had mastered every aspect of publishingCurrent Biography
3 : to produce a master recording of (something, such as a musical rendition)

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Other Words from master

Noun

mastership \ ˈma-​stər-​ˌship How to pronounce mastership (audio) \ noun

Examples of master in a Sentence

Noun

As a slave he was required to do his master's bidding without question. The dog was always obedient to its master. the master and mistress of the house She is a master of her craft.

Adjective

thought of themselves as belonging to humanity's master race a master craftsman who makes fine wood furniture of his own designs

Verb

She mastered French in college. He is determined to master every aspect of the business.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Similar to powdery pastel (another big color trend for spring), the shade is great for anyone with pale highlights or platinum-white hair, says Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Salon Soho in New York City. Bella Cacciatore, Allure, "Lavender Gray Is Spring's Coolest Hair-Color Trend," 11 Apr. 2019 Meticulously crafted and ever-evolving in collaboration with French master creator and ex-paramour Jean-Paul Goude, the singer’s Afrofuturist image is as integral to her character as her sultry contralto and subversive stage presence. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Grace Jones! 18 Times the Fearless Pop Icon Broke the Beauty Mold," 19 May 2019 For good measure, the current owner also recently replaced the water pump and front crank seal, rebuilt the master cylinder and brake booster, and fitted new KYB dampers in front and adjustable Koni units in the rear. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "1988 Chevrolet Corvette C4 Callaway Twin-Turbo Four-Speed Is a High-Performance Love Letter from the '80s," 15 May 2019 Nine years ago, the world was introduced to How to Train Your Dragon, the animated action film about a teenager named Hiccup who is trying to prove himself as a true Viking by setting off to master dragon fighting. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "How to Train Your Dragon's," 11 May 2019 Ghost probably will, because Ghost is a good and hardy boy and Tormund will probably be a better master to him anyway. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jon Snow Didn't Even Pet Ghost Goodbye in Game of Thrones Tonight," 6 May 2019 Modern masters like John Galliano and Marc Jacobs all have top billing, but so do newer voices like Vaquera and Tomo Koizumi, who only showed his first runway show just last season in New York. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Why the 2019 Met Gala is Going to be More Over the Top Than Ever," 6 May 2019 Designed by a great master, the garment is then handled by seamstresses who train as apprentices for 12 years before they are allowed to make the actual clothes. Danielle Steel, Harper's BAZAAR, "Danielle Steele: A Fashion Love Story," 2 May 2019 The Jedi master of Star Wars collecting thought about abandoning his museum after the theft. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Is Keaton physically hunky enough to play the master CIA death machine? Michael Heaton, cleveland.com, "'American Assassin' is fast and furious fun (review)," 15 Sep. 2017 Refugees need not master German before applying, though they will be required to learn it while studying there. Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor, "How do refugee students make the jump to Germany's universities?," 24 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Below, Sugihara’s top tips for mastering the art of layering. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Master the Art of Layering With This San Francisco Bag Guru," 23 Apr. 2019 The street style star, who's always mastered the art of a good pair of sunnies, teamed up with Westward Leaning to design a collection of her own. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Olivia Palermo Designed a Collection to Save Us From the Tiny Sunglasses Trend," 12 Mar. 2019 But, if the power of positive thinking works for mastering the problems of everyday living, who says the power of positive decorating can't do the same? Elise Taylor, Vogue, "15 Items to Make Your Home Feel Like Spring, Even if It’s Still Miserable Outside," 21 Mar. 2019 What are your tips for mastering comfy-chic style at the airport? Holly Rhue, Marie Claire, "Away Founder Jen Rubio Does Her Best Work 20,000-Feet Up in the Air," 5 Dec. 2018 The greatest makeup minds may have found workarounds for mastering the cat eye, but wearing lipstick that can outlast our favorite foods remains a challenge. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid Shared Her Beauty Hack for Eating Pizza Without Smudging Your Lipstick," 28 Nov. 2018 Lucky for you and your fall food cravings, though, the experts in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen are sharing their best tips for mastering this advanced baking trick: 1. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Only Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin Recipe You'll Want to Make This Fall," 13 Sep. 2018 Instead, Slingerland recommends two strategies for mastering the art of caring less. Jamie Friedlander, The Cut, "Mastering the Art of Caring Less," 3 July 2018 But for others, like France, mastering the fuel cycle is a vital pillar of their energy strategy. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Uranium enrichment will be a key point in talks with North Korea. Here’s what it is.," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'master.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of master

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Adjective

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for master

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

Middle English, from Old English magister & Anglo-French meistre, both from Latin magister; akin to Latin magnus large — more at much

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Statistics for master

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for master

The first known use of master was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for master

master

noun

English Language Learners Definition of master

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: someone (especially a man) who has a servant or slave
: someone (especially a man) who owns a pet (such as a dog)
formal : the male head of a household

master

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of master (Entry 2 of 3)

: highly skilled
: largest or most important
used to describe an original version from which other copies can be made

master

verb

English Language Learners Definition of master (Entry 3 of 3)

: to succeed in controlling (something, such as an emotion)
: to learn (something) completely : to get the knowledge and skill that allows you to do, use, or understand (something) very well

master

noun
mas·​ter | \ ˈma-stər How to pronounce master (audio) \

Kids Definition of master

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : someone having authority over another person, an animal, or a thing the slave's master the master of a ship
2 : a male teacher
3 : an artist or performer of great skill He is a master at making desserts.
4 used as a title for a young boy too young to be called mister Master Timothy Roe

master

verb
mastered; mastering

Kids Definition of master (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get control of You must master your fear.
2 : to become skillful at I managed to master arithmetic.

master

noun
mas·​ter

Legal Definition of master

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an individual or entity (as a corporation) having control or authority over another: as
a : the owner of a slave
b : employer — compare servant
2 : an officer of the court appointed (as under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53) to assist a judge in a particular case by hearing and reporting on the case, sometimes by making findings of fact and conclusions of law, and by performing various related functions

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a master may be a magistrate or else may be a person with some special expertise in the matter. The word master as used in the Federal Rules encompasses a referee, an auditor, an examiner, and an assessor. If the master makes findings of fact, they are reviewable de novo by the court except when the parties have stipulated that the findings will be reviewed for clear error or that the master's findings are to be final.

master

adjective

Legal Definition of master (Entry 2 of 2)

: being the principal or controlling one : governing a number of subordinate like things a master insurance policy

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More from Merriam-Webster on master

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with master

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for master

Spanish Central: Translation of master

Nglish: Translation of master for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of master for Arabic Speakers

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