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mas·​ter·​mind ˈma-stər-ˌmīnd How to pronounce mastermind (audio)
: a person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project


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masterminded; masterminding; masterminds

transitive verb

: to be the mastermind of

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (also the ruler of Dubai), is the mastermind behind these massive projects, which are meant to drive tourism and expand Dubai’s coastline. Danielle Berman, Travel + Leisure, 26 Nov. 2023 The government has declassified a secret intelligence program that clandestinely recorded prison yard conversations of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is accused of being the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as prosecutors seek to supply evidence that could be used at an eventual trial. Carol Rosenberg, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 An expert in the wedding and event planning business, Blum has been the mastermind behind countless A-list celebrity weddings. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 The creator, host, and star of shows such as Nathan for You and The Rehearsal has cultivated a reputation as a merry prankster and a mastermind of hallucinatory television. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 11 Nov. 2023 Advertisement Music Out of the woods, Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ heralds the return of a pop-music mastermind Oct. 20, 2022 RECORD OF THE YEAR Zach Bryan feat. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 So did San Diego Music Hall of Fame mastermind Jay, who this month launched the 15th annual edition of his Acoustic Evenings concert series at La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Oct. 2023 Meanwhile, the forces fueling and making millions of dollars off of Milli Vanilli’s ruse got off scot-free, namely Farian, the supervillain-level mastermind behind it all. Ineye Komonibo,, 27 Oct. 2023 Innocent Palestinians have died in the midst of a conflict where Israel is trying to go after the terrorist masterminds and the terrorist perpetrators who conducted those gruesome massacres. ABC News, 29 Oct. 2023
The Continental: From the World of John Wick director Albert Hughes first crossed paths with John Wick masterminds Chad Stahelski and David Leitch in 2008. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Sep. 2023 Carey and Libran’s partnership was masterminded by Carey’s stylist Wilfredo Rosado, who has known Libran for many years. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 16 Nov. 2023 He was freed in May as part of a prisoner exchange, with Belgium releasing an Iranian diplomat, Asadollah Assadi, who had been sentenced to 20 years for masterminding a plot to set off a bomb at a rally in Paris. Dan De Luce, NBC News, 5 Sep. 2023 These Christmas gift-wrapping ideas will show you how to mastermind last-minute holiday gift wrap with household supplies as unassuming as graph paper and Sharpies. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 1 Nov. 2023 Gardner-Fernandez allegedly masterminded a plot to kill her ex-husband, who was gunned down in front of his toddler daughter in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in February 2022. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 24 Oct. 2023 And the idea that Jobim, in fighting not just to compose the album but to arrange and mastermind it, was acting like some sort of dictatorial guru is absurd. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Oct. 2023 Despite this, Hale masterminded a plot to kill Osages and inherit their oil rights, enlisting his nephews, Ernest and Byron (Scott Shepherd), and multiple others to carry out his plan. Liam Quinn, Peoplemag, 20 Oct. 2023 For many in the crypto industry and beyond, his reputation is now fixed as the man accused of masterminding one of the biggest financial frauds in history. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mastermind.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1872, in the meaning defined above


1927, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near mastermind

Cite this Entry

“Mastermind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person who invents or directs a project
mastermind verb

More from Merriam-Webster on mastermind

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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