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
That dynamic tandem resembles the duo of lefty Ryan Burnett and righthander Carter Hope, who were masterful at the state tournament five years ago.
Emmanuel Macron is a masterful eyeball-to-eyeball subtweeteur.
Herman was masterful at locking down the borders of the state, signing six of the state's seven best players.
Now, their joint narrative arc—a masterful conflation of art, commerce, and gossip—has culminated in a second arena tour and a surprise full-length album.
The 61-year-old actor, who portrays Sir John Falstaff, used his masterful improvisation skills to entertain a restless crowd at the Veterans Affairs’ West Los Angeles campus when an audience member became ill on Wednesday.
That brings us to the masterful acrobatics of character and plot seen in season 3, which concluded Sunday.
The Modern has done a masterful job mounting the exhibition and allowing Murakami to infuse his art throughout the building.
The Russo Brothers harked back to gritty political/conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s with this taut tale of corruption - even getting Robert Redford to sign up as a power broker in a time of Hydra - and the result is a masterful blend of genres.
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.
arrogant, bumptious, cavalier, chesty, haughty, high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, highfalutin (also hifalutin), huffish, huffy, imperious, important, lofty, lordly, overweening, peremptory, pompous, presuming, presumptuous, pretentious, self-asserting, self-assertive, sniffy, supercilious, superior, uppish, uppity;
complacent, conceited, egocentric, egoistic (also egoistical), egotistic (or egotistical), narcissistic, prideful, proud, self-affected, self-applauding, self-centered, self-complacent, self-conceited, self-pleased, self-satisfied, smug, stuck-up;
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
Definition of masterful for English Language Learners
: able to take control of people or situations
: very skillful
MASTERFUL Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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