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

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: Noun He was offered the head men and women's tennis coach job at Georgetown in 2006 and was introduced by a friend two years later to admissions consultant Rick Singer, the mastermind of the bribery scheme, Ernst told the judge. CBS News, 1 July 2022 All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida and mastermind of the attack. Rob Harris, ajc, 11 June 2022 All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida and mastermind of the attack. Rob Harris, Chicago Tribune, 11 June 2022 But besides that one time when law enforcement killed the mastermind of the killing of 23 people going home after New Year’s eve church events, Nigeria tragically moves on like nothing happened. Alexander Onukwue, Quartz, 6 June 2022 Many people no doubt may recall that Bernie Madoff, the mastermind of one of the largest Wall Street Ponzi schemes, consistently paid out an annual return of about 12 percent, which seemed reasonable at that time. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 Known for his interviews with Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks, during the late 1980s and early 1990s. CNN, 14 Apr. 2022 At the sentencing, the judge called Vicki the evil mastermind of a perverse and horrendous crime. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, 10 Apr. 2022 In a national championship game nobody at Kansas will soon forget, Bill Self went from the Hall of Fame coach who too often failed on the big stage to the brilliant mastermind of the biggest second-half comeback in NCAA title-game history. oregonlive, 4 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These people helped mastermind 9-11, for god’s sake. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 9 June 2022 All three firms, Medium Plenty, Terremoto, and Regan Baker Interiors, came together to mastermind this bonus entertaining space, complete with a hot tub, fire pit, and herb garden. Amanda Sims Clifford, House Beautiful, 9 June 2022 All of the other performances have been in-house productions by the symphony, which has mixed orchestral performances with stand-alone concerts by such pop-music legends as Gladys Knight and Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Oct. 2021 The defense memorandum goes on to relitigate the Ecuadorean pursuit of Chevron despite multiple decisions, in this country and several others, that confirm the fraud Donziger helped mastermind. Michael I. Krauss, Forbes, 26 Sep. 2021 The attraction debuted about a year after Muppets mastermind Jim Henson died and three years before Walt Disney Co. acquired the majority of the Muppets film and television library for $75 million. Dewayne Bevil,, 25 Aug. 2021 No wonder, then, that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been forced to break with a number of traditions as the global pandemic forces organizers to mastermind a mega-sporting event unlikely any other. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, 22 July 2021 India accuses Saeed of helping mastermind the deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 170 people at several occasions including the luxury Taj Hotel. Zarar Khan, Star Tribune, 4 July 2021 The clients called on James Huniford of Huniford Design Studio to mastermind the interiors. House Beautiful, 10 June 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

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Dictionary Entries Near mastermind

master mechanic


master of arts

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mastermind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on mastermind

Nglish: Translation of mastermind for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mastermind for Arabic Speakers


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