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 mastermind behind Donald Trump's Ukraine imbroglio is now sticking his oar in this autumn's presidential debates. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu And Vedika Sud, CNN, "Presidential debates and Modi's China challenge," 23 June 2020 Back in the '60s, Hall's father - late great producer, songwriter and studio mastermind Rick Hall - had the foresight to book a photographer for major sessions. Matt Wake |, al, "How Muscle Shoals music Meccas are surviving and reopening," 23 June 2020 Janavs began conspiring in 2017 to get her daughters into college with admissions scam mastermind Rick Singer, federal prosecutors said. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs headed to prison for college bribery scandal," 12 June 2020 His ability to steer money to GOP incumbents was what built his reputation as a strategic mastermind, but Republicans no longer have a monopoly on political money. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Mitch McConnell Is No Genius," 10 June 2020 Just one of a complex chain of transactions reportedly engineered by Jo Low, the now-notorious mastermind of the $4.5 billion 1MDB heist, to hide assets from the U.S. Justice Department. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Banking while black and other hard questions," 10 June 2020 Reports first emerged in late July that Hamza bin Laden, the son of al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, was dead. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'Collective win': Al Qaeda leader in North Africa killed," 6 June 2020 Soon Keegan will be assigned to test out a robotic policing tool and launched into a conspiracy whose mastermind is using cutting-edge tech to tear the nation apart. August Cole, Wired, "AI, AR, and the (Somewhat) Speculative Future of a Tech-Fueled FBI," 5 June 2020 Last April, the mastermind behind MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills, Adam DiVello, debuted a new reality show on Netflix: Selling Sunset. Morgan Baila,, "Selling Sunset’s Christine Quinn Is Just Here To Make The Show Not “F*cking Boring”," 22 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gad, who co-created the series alongside Bob's Burgers masterminds Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith, features as Central Park's narrator, Birdie. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Josh Gad reveals the Frozen joke they cut from Central Park," 28 May 2020 The judges and prosecutors overseeing that case are now charged with being followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for masterminding the July 2016 coup. Tugce Ozsoy,, "Turkey Arrests OdaTV Editor-in-Chief, Bans Website, Report Says," 5 May 2020 Alexander, who likely masterminded the stunt, would follow him into the MSTA. Julian Lucas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 30 Mar. 2020 The German has help mastermind an unbeaten domestic run which promises to end the club's 30 year wait for England's top-flight title and the Reds' record-breaking season shows no sign no sign of slowing down. Ben Church And Alex Thomas, CNN, "'Unbelievable' Jurgen Klopp deserves all the credit for Liverpool success, says Mido," 29 Feb. 2020 With many believing Kim Jong-un masterminded the scheme, the film is sure to be a bombshell. Ariana Marsh, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Documentaries of 2020 That Have Been Announced So Far," 6 Feb. 2020 Iran’s attack on the military bases came as retaliation for a Jan. 2 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian general and terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Iran to keep black box from downed Ukrainian passenger jet as victims' bodies are returned home," 19 Jan. 2020 In the protest case, the prosecution wanted Mr Kavala sentenced to life for allegedly masterminding anti-government protests sparked by plans to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013. The Economist, "Guilty of caring Turkey acquits the Gezi Park protesters, then rearrests one," 20 Feb. 2020 Israel said Soleimani masterminded the alleged drone attack. Washington Post, "Israel’s shadow war with Iran bursts into the open," 27 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for mastermind

Time Traveler

The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

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Statistics for mastermind

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mastermind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mastermind


How to pronounce mastermind (audio)

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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