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

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 : 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
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)



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


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

Other Words from master


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

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 With his master now powerless, Corinthian peaces out to continue his brutal murder spree. Alex Raiman,, 5 Aug. 2022 Urina Harrell, 28, grew up in L.A. but moved to North Carolina to get her undergraduate degree and then was off to England for her master’s. Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2022 In 2021, Bryce graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University with her master's in journalism, specializing in magazine writing. Bryce Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 July 2022 That grocery store, Hansen’s, was ultimately named in honor of our brilliant property master, Mark Hansen. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 July 2022 Taylor is an alum now pursuing her master’s degree at the school. Alison Cross, Hartford Courant, 20 July 2022 In Paul’s letter to Philemon, the apostle even commands a runaway slave to return to his master. The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 July 2022 Three more earned their master's degrees this past May, Smith said last month. Jaime Adame, Arkansas Online, 5 July 2022 One of the most important things is to start working on collecting master data around your company’s emissions. Jagmeet Lamba, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Some of the most intriguing whiskey coming out of Beam these days is the work of Freddie Noe (who now holds the title of co-master distiller with his father Fred Noe), specifically his Little Book lineup of blended whiskeys. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 29 May 2022 There is a private entrance to the master suite and office, a large guest suite with a bathroom and an ADU with a separate entry on the lower level. oregonlive, 27 June 2020 The interior features high ceilings, custom millwork, and walnut floors and paneling, and the master suite has his-and-her baths and closets, a sitting area, and a balcony. TheWeek, 27 June 2020 Is Keaton physically hunky enough to play the master CIA death machine? Michael Heaton,, 15 Sep. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here, the bears will master climbing, foraging, and other skills, per the San Diego Humane Society. Kelli Bender,, 18 July 2022 Plus, no columnist can hope to master the substance of every policy domain, especially when many (including tax) are deeply technical. Joseph Thorndike, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Beach athletes must master all volleyball skills and have the stamina to play through a match. Myah Taylor, Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2022 The family medicine doctor had no intention of moving there but invested nine months to master Texas medical law, submit to background checks, get fingerprinted, and pay hundreds of dollars in licensing fees. Rachel Bluth, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Apr. 2022 Take some time to master your delivery and display your true personality. Robin Ryan, Forbes, 12 July 2022 Sisters attempted to master a cannonball, pitter-pattering to the edge and adjusting their jump based on their stepmom's pointers. Madison Smalstig, The Indianapolis Star, 11 July 2022 Zykan started out managing the Old Forester single barrel program, but was promoted to master taster based on, of course, her incredible palate. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 8 July 2022 Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power, says that Neptune is one of the trickiest planets to master and understand. Elizabeth Gulino,, 1 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of master


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


12th century, in the meaning defined above


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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Time Traveler for master

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

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Master.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for master


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

Kids Definition of master

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a male teacher
2 : an artist or performer of great skill He is a master at making desserts.
3 someone with authority over something the master of a ship
4 the owner of a slave
5 the owner of an animal
6 used as a title for a young boy too young to be called mister Master Timothy Roe


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.



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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on master

Nglish: Translation of master for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of master for Arabic Speakers


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