mas·​ter·​mind | \ ˈma-stər-ˌmīnd How to pronounce mastermind (audio) , ˌmas-tər-ˈ \

Definition of mastermind

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project


masterminded; masterminding; masterminds

Definition of mastermind (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be the mastermind of

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Examples of mastermind in a Sentence

Noun the mastermind behind the terrorist plot the real mastermind behind the embezzlement scheme Verb They masterminded a unique solution to the problem. He masterminded the bank robbery.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Quicksilver cameo was just a setup for a stupid joke, WandaVision didn’t get into the multiverse, and Mephisto wasn’t the secret mastermind behind Wanda’s imprisonment. Chris Smith, BGR, 9 June 2021 The mastermind of a fraud scheme that diverted COVID relief money meant for struggling businesses to phantom companies was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $1 million. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 June 2021 Defense lawyers for John Silva portrayed him as someone along for the ride, not the mastermind behind the double slaying of two Lake County teens in a botched 2019 drug robbery. Meredith Colias-pete,, 2 June 2021 Bang, the mastermind behind K-pop phenom BTS, saw his wealth soar in April after announcing the purchase of Ithaca Holdings, which represents American pop stars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Grace Chung, Forbes, 1 June 2021 One lawyer, in a case involving bribes to Stanford’s athletic department, drily points us to the true mastermind. Matt Feeney, The New Yorker, 29 May 2021 In The Ladykillers, Guinness plays the ghoulish mastermind of a gang of criminals using an elderly Londoner’s flat as part of an elaborate robbery. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 26 May 2021 Not knowing which traps the mastermind will lay down next always kept the survivor group guessing, but each player character never felt defenseless thanks to their useful skills. Aaron Potter, Wired, 7 May 2021 The unapologetically bright and fluorescent lifestyle and design company comes from Joy Cho — the mastermind behind it all. Linh Ta, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The clients called on James Huniford of Huniford Design Studio to mastermind the interiors. House Beautiful, 10 June 2021 Now that all the pieces are in place again, how might MCU mastermind Kevin Feige and his team bring the X-Men into the big-screen fold? Christian Holub,, 9 June 2021 Murray then went on to mastermind the McLaren F1 of 1994, which many consider to be one of the greatest street-legal sports cars of all time. Alistair Charlton, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Out on their own as a trio, Kaz also grows from club owner to mastermind. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, 19 Apr. 2021 The idea is that Cohen will mastermind a transformation of GameStop into an online powerhouse. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2021 That would be welcome news for Michael Taylor and his son Peter, who have languished in a county jail near Boston since May, awaiting their extradition to Japan where they are indicted for helping to mastermind Ghosn’s epic flight from Japan. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 23 Nov. 2020 The entire crux of Vine, which shut down in 2017, hinged on quantitative thrift: creators had to mastermind spurts of elliptical, comedic genius in six seconds. Jason Parham, Wired, 19 Aug. 2020 Rhino horn syndicates are multilevel criminal networks, with poachers and couriers managed and paid by regional bosses who mastermind and direct operations, receiving the rhino horns and supplying them to national-level traders. Laurel Neme, National Geographic, 18 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mastermind.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mastermind


1872, in the meaning defined above


1927, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More About mastermind

Time Traveler for mastermind

Time Traveler

The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

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Statistics for mastermind

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mastermind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for mastermind



English Language Learners Definition of mastermind

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who plans and organizes something



English Language Learners Definition of mastermind (Entry 2 of 2)

: to plan and organize (something) : to be the mastermind of (something)


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