mastermind

noun
mas·​ter·​mind | \ˈmas-tər-ˌmīnd, 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

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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

Maduro has called him the mastermind behind the drone attack and Venezuelan officials have requested his extradition from Colombia. Christine Armario, Fox News, "Foe accused by Maduro says Venezuela military is fracturing," 15 Aug. 2018 In many ways, that’s a good fit for McCarthy, who has worked to ingratiate himself with conservatives in the House and has always been more of a strong political messenger than a policy mastermind. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Kevin McCarthy finally gets to be the top House Republican — but in the minority," 14 Nov. 2018 It's also been announced that the series will be written by Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) and George R. R. Martin, the mastermind behind the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series, according to Entertainment Weekly. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Game of Thrones Prequel Just Cast Naomi Watts as a Lead," 30 Oct. 2018 Clive Barker, the mastermind behind Hellraiser and the Candyman series, provided more than 150 pieces of art to decorate the halls of Greendale's school for witches, the Academy Of The Unseen Arts. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Netflix Has Hidden All Kinds Of Easter Eggs In The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina House," 25 Oct. 2018 India and Pakistan Jonny BealbyWild FrontiersBealby is a logistics mastermind who has planned expeditions through the Hindu Kush and Kashmir. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 Attendees included Brexit mastermind Nigel Farage, conservative think tank leaders and Louis Aliot, a right-wing French politician and boyfriend of Marine Le Pen. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 2018 A year ago, a Hatfield man was dubbed a dark web mastermind who pulled off a brazen $40 million Bitcoin heist. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "ICE protester sues Philly police, young Pa. farmers shake up industry | Morning Newsletter," 11 July 2018 Several weeks later, French newspaper Le Monde released excerpts of police testimony with suspect Aomar Ait Kihedach, the mastermind who allegedly confessed to the crime. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Kardashian West Reveals the Steps She Takes to Protect Herself Since the Paris Robbery," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 And Juliet coolly and calmly masterminds a plot that breaks up Dan and Vanessa and possibly will get Serena expelled. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 Thomas Whitaker, 38, was convicted of masterminding a 2003 plot to murder his wealthy parents and 19-year-old brother for inheritance money. Tracy Connor, NBC News, "Texas death row inmate Thomas Whitaker could be spared after unusual appeal," 22 Feb. 2018 The scientific inquiry, masterminded by prominent psychologist Dr. Peter Neubauer and his Child Development Center, set out to answer the fundamental question of nature vs. nurture. Amy Kaufman, latimes.com, "The surreal, sad story behind the acclaimed new doc 'Three Identical Strangers'," 1 July 2018 The details of Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady’s plant-based, organic regimen have been public since 2016; since then, their diet, masterminded by personal chef Allen Campbell, has been making waves in the health community. Elizabeth Inglese, Vogue, "Eat Like a Supermodel! 5 Healthy Food Plans Behind the World’s Best Bodies," 28 June 2018 One prominent effort to do so is being masterminded from the top floor of an art-deco building in downtown San Francisco. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 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.

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First Known Use of mastermind

Noun

1872, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1927, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mastermind

The first known use of mastermind was in 1872

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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)

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