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
From showcasing the beauty in body building to finding the hope in the world of addiction, Stone's skills, passion and work ethic always produce masterful results.
Felder, a masterful pianist and versatile vocalist, plays the latter with graceful, rippling cascades of notes, seated at a grand piano on the tastefully festive yet (which Felder himself designed).
What can the rest of us learn from these masterful aging athletes?
The marvelously detailed drawing with a pig and pan pipes on the ground and feathers flying around young Punchinello is a masterful composition.
White offers a new perspective on westward expansion in his comprehensive and masterful study.
But Rufino Tamayo’s wall-size mural Man Facing Infinity remains, as do Goeritz’s masterful Abstract in Gold and Pedro Friedeberg’s wackadoodle 16 Riddles of a Hindu Astronaut.
Durant had previously done a masterful job in moonlighting as Green on defense, where his length could mimic some of what the NBA's most versatile defender does so well.
Bluiett was a catalyst in one of the program's best-ever come-from-behind wins and, of course, had the masterful step-back make to clinch the victory before one of the loudest crowds Cintas Center will see this season.
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
Seen and Heard
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