masterful was our Word of the Day on 05/02/2015. Hear the podcast!
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masterful vs. masterly
Examples of masterful in a Sentence
His manner was masterful and abrupt.
a masterful work of art
He did a masterful job of staying out of trouble.
Recent Examples of masterful from the Web
For that new mission, Grant needed cabinet members, staff and advisers every bit as masterful as his wartime lieutenants.
Kershaw shifted the narrative with his masterful outing in Game 1 of the World Series.
His vocal range here is on full display -- the song opens on a low B-flat, then soars to its two-octaves-away counterpart on the impassioned bridge, with Michael showing off his impressive vocal strength and masterful control.
Test Results: Maximum Cornering Capability View 0 Photos Braking Porsche’s command of the firm, progressive brake pedal is as masterful as ever, and that confident attitude is backed up by super-short braking distances.
Missouri keys to success: Quarterback Drew Lock has been masterful against non-conference opponents over his career, producing a 22-to-3 touchdown to interception ratio in nine games.
The right-hander was masterful in a 4-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12 in front of 33,555 at Comerica Park.
Mayfield hit a lull in the second quarter, but helped blow the game open with two masterful passes to start the second half.
Wentz then finished the half with a masterful two-minute drive, needing just 90 seconds to take the Eagles 80 yards for the TD that put them ahead for good.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'masterful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Some commentators insist that masterful must only mean "domineering," reserving the "expert, skillful" sense for masterly. The distinction is a modern one. In earlier times, the terms were used interchangeably, with each having both the "domineering" and "expert" senses. The "domineering" sense of masterly fell into disuse around the 18th century, however, and in the 20th century the famous grammarian H. W. Fowler decided that masterful should be similarly limited to a single meaning. He summarily ruled that the "expert" definition of masterful was incorrect. Other usage writers followed his lead. But the "expert" meaning of masterful has continued to flourish in standard prose in spite of the disapproval, and, considering the sense's long history, it cannot really be called an error.
First Known Use of masterful
Synonymsadroit, artful, bravura, deft, delicate, dexterous (also dextrous), expert, skillful, masterly, practiced (also practised), virtuoso, workmanlike
Antonymsamateur, amateurish, artless, rude, unprofessional, unskillful
Related Wordsfacile, smooth; artistic, creative, fancy, ingenious, neat; adept, clever, cunning; able, adequate, capable, competent
Near Antonymsawkward, clumsy, crude, klutzy; ineffective, ineffectual; incompetent, inept
Synonym Discussion of masterful
- her masterful personality soon dominated the movement
- children controlled by domineering parents
- an imperious executive used to getting his own way
- given a peremptory dismissal
- an imperative appeal for assistance
MASTERFUL Defined for English Language Learners
MASTERFUL Defined for Kids
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