master

1 of 3

noun

mas·​ter ˈma-stər How to pronounce master (audio)
plural masters
1
a(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
2
a
: 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
: one having control
proved himself master of the situation
e
: an owner especially of an animal
f
: the employer especially of a servant
g
: a person who holds another person in slavery
h(1)
dialect : husband
(2)
: the male head of a household
3
a(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)
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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)
mastership noun

master

2 of 3

adjective

: 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

3 of 3

verb

mastered; mastering ˈma-st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce master (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to become master of : overcome
mastered his fears
2
a
: 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)

Examples of master in a Sentence

Noun the master and mistress of the house She is a master of her craft. Adjective 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Nicole grew up in Idaho, graduated from Idaho State University and Northwestern University with a master’s degree in journalism. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 12 July 2024 The brand has collaborated with other masters of their craft, like menswear designer Todd Snyder and the historic Carlyle Hotel in N.Y.C., keeping them on the cutting edge of culture and catering to the tastes of discerning and stylish individuals. Michael Stefanov, Robb Report, 11 July 2024
Adjective
The new board will comprise 11 master sommeliers, plus four non-master sommelier members. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, 12 Nov. 2020 And coming back to her non-master suite? Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2022
Verb
From pulse-pounding suspense to clever twists and turns, these Black authors have mastered the art of keeping readers hooked from start to finish. Melissa Noel, Essence, 26 June 2024 As for the next step in his NFL development, Purdy pointed to mastering coach Kyle Shanahan’s playbook. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for master 

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near master

Cite this Entry

“Master.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/master. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

master

1 of 3 noun
mas·​ter ˈmas-tər How to pronounce master (audio)
1
a
: a male teacher
b
: a person holding an academic degree between a bachelor's and a doctor's
2
a
: an independent skilled worker
especially : one qualified to teach apprentices
b
: an artist or performer of great skill
3
a
: one having authority : ruler
b
: one that conquers or masters
c
: the captain of a merchant ship
d
: an owner especially of an animal
e
: the employer especially of a servant
f
: a person who holds another person in slavery
4
used as a title for a boy too young to be called mister
5
: a master machine or device
mastership noun

master

2 of 3 adjective
1
: being a master
a master carpenter
2
: being the main or guiding one
a master plan
3
: controlling the operation of other devices
a master clock

master

3 of 3 verb
mastered; mastering -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce master (audio)
1
: overcome sense 1, subdue
master an enemy
master a desire
2
: to become skilled at
master arithmetic
Etymology

Noun

Middle English master "master," from Old English magister and early French meistre, both meaning "master" and both from Latin magister "master, teacher, one who holds high political or military office" — related to maestro, magistrate, mistress

Legal Definition

master

1 of 2 noun
mas·​ter
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

2 of 2 adjective
: being the principal or controlling one : governing a number of subordinate like things
a master insurance policy

More from Merriam-Webster on master

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