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 According to the mayor’s office, McClure has a master’s in library and information science from Drexel University iSchool in Philadelphia, and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Midway College in Midway, Kentucky. Anchorage Daily News, 23 Sep. 2022 Most Boston-area municipal master plans and housing plans adopted since the 1990s have recommended allowing ADUs., 22 Sep. 2022 Take a look to the west shortly before sunset, according to Michelle Nichols, master educator for the Adler Planetarium. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 Villa One is a Stoli Group tequila brand founded by pop star Nick Jonas and designer John Varvatos, in collaboration with Stoli tequila master Arturo Fuentes . Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 Al owns his own master recordings, but how much will that matter if future generations bring millions of new Bennys who don’t care in the slightest about Paper Boi? Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2022 Surrinder Kumar is the man behind both of these whiskies, the master blender who worked for Amrut Distilleries for many years, so that could play a part in this potential crossover. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2022 In this intimate 90-minute evening, Irwin will explore a performer’s relationship to Beckett, mining the physical and verbal skills acquired in his years as a master clown and Tony Award-winning actor. San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Sep. 2022 Whether a Pokémon trainer or master, cooks of all levels can make recipes are based on their favorite characters, such as Pikachu lemon tarts and Charizard arrabbiata pasta. Sonal Dutt, Peoplemag, 22 Sep. 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 Success depends less on the internal workings of the firm and more on its ability to master a turbulent unpredictable world of exponential technological possibilities and to delight unpredictable customers. Steve Denning, Forbes, 27 June 2022 These larger plants are ideal for more experienced plant lovers or those looking to master their skills. Andrea Navarro, Glamour, 14 Apr. 2022 That has meant a much more complex playbook to master this spring. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 Automakers’ ability to master battery technology could help determine which companies thrive and which are overtaken by Tesla and other electric car businesses. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 Bell won the first pole of his career in his 75th Cup start, but one of his few true chances to master a qualifying session. Mark Heim |, al, 6 Mar. 2022 Death care services often use interns who need hours to master their skills. Ginger Allen, CBS News, 22 Feb. 2022 Almost Blue is a fascinating early fusion of Costello’s personal vision and his aspirations to master a wide variety of genres. Al Shipley, SPIN, 30 Jan. 2022 Many of the options on our list take a three-pronged approach to master a microblading effect — literally. Allure, 30 Sep. 2021 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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Dictionary Entries Near master




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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Master.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 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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