mastermind

noun
mas·​ter·​mind | \ ˈmas-tər-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

mastermind

verb
masterminded; masterminding; masterminds

Definition of mastermind (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be the mastermind of

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Though famous couples like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and John Lennon and Yoko Ono once canoodled in happy seclusion here, King Eddy is frequented now more by business masterminds. New York Times, "We’ll Never Be Royals, But ...," 21 Apr. 2018 Bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Usama bin Laden's brother pleads with terrorist mastermind's son not to follow in his footsteps," 3 Aug. 2018 The detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen, is alleged to have been the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole and other terrorist attacks. NBC News, "Gina Haspel considered withdrawing as CIA nominee, sources say," 6 May 2018 Twelve unidentified multi-billion-dollar men, who speak in Russian and English, are the secret masterminds behind assassinations that serve their business and political interests. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "What Luke Jennings' 'Codename Villanelle' Hints About 'Killing Eve' Season 2," 30 Jan. 2019 Here, Craig-Martin, who was knighted for his services to art in 2016, opens up about his process for our peek inside the habits of a creative mastermind. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Artist Michael Craig-Martin Would Like Someone to Loan Him a Skyscraper," 25 Jan. 2019 Daredevil season 1 ended with the hero defeating criminal mastermind Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio). Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Most Read," 12 Oct. 2018 One other person, suspected of being the mastermind, will hear his case in court later. BostonGlobe.com, "BJ’s going back to the public markets," 18 May 2018 In the 2011 Finals between Miami and Dallas, Casey was the mastermind behind the Mavs’ defense that shut down James. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "LeBron James won't say it, but he owns 'mental edge' over Raptors," 3 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The stylist turned interior designer masterminded goop’s Chicago pop-up, and the sumptuous yet pared-back interiors of the Talbott Hotel, among other projects. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "11 Simple Home Updates to Make This Year," 7 Jan. 2019 The Spaniard was unable to prevent the club from suffering relegation to the Championship, but masterminded an immediate return to the Premier League the following season. SI.com, "Newcastle Boss Rafa Benitez Admits it Has Been 'Difficult to Enjoy the Job' This Season," 20 Mar. 2018 The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies masterminding the 2016 coup attempt. Zeynep Bilginsoy, Fox News, "Turkish journalists sentenced for links to US-based cleric," 6 July 2018 Which might come as something of a surprise, given that director Adam McKay previously masterminded such all-things-to-all-people jollities as Anchorman and Talladega Nights. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Should You See Adam McKay’s New Film, Vice?," 20 Dec. 2018 The 54-year-old is also on course to masterminding the first ever entirely unbeaten season in La Liga history, with Barca five games away from making history. SI.com, "Report Claims Ernesto Valverde Considering Barcelona Future Despite Unbeaten La Liga Season," 23 Apr. 2018 That celebration of the individual played out expertly in Prada’s beauty look, which was masterminded by hairstylist Guido Palau and makeup artist Pat McGrath. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Boyish Bangs! Baby Doll Lashes! Just Don't Call Prada’s Beauty Look Millennial," 21 Sep. 2018 Over half of the sum raised was allegedly stolen by Mr. Low and others in a scheme Mr. Low masterminded, according to the Justice Department indictment. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs’s Ex-CEO Lloyd Blankfein Met Malaysian at Center of 1MDB Scandal," 9 Nov. 2018 Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight and Nate Cohn (who, at the Times, is one of the needle’s masterminds) sniped at each other about the assumptions built into their models; everyone got really huffy about correlated errors for a few days. Dara Lind, Vox, "America’s love-hate relationship with the New York Times election needle, explained," 6 Nov. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of mastermind

Noun

1872, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1927, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mastermind

Share mastermind

Statistics for mastermind

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mastermind

The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mastermind

mastermind

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mastermind

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who plans and organizes something

mastermind

verb

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on mastermind

What made you want to look up mastermind? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!