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 Zillow Gone Wild is Samir Mezrahi, who also runs the popular KaleSalad Instagram and Twitter accounts. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "Zillow Gone Wild Features The Craziest Real Estate Listings on Its Instagram Account," 6 Jan. 2021 Robbers take hostages inside Spain’s royal mint as a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "What Netflix’s Lists of Top Foreign Movies and TV Series Say About American Taste," 10 Dec. 2020 That trip back in time nets intelligence needed to track Perseus, a Soviet mastermind who aims to use the bomb to attack the U.S. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "'Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War' review: A spy game worthy of your time, regardless of your video game system," 13 Nov. 2020 Court documents paint him as a criminal mastermind with a tragic past. Mario Ariza,, "El Jabao: The greatest Cuban crime syndicate you’ve never heard of.," 3 Oct. 2020 Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003, at one point claimed to have personally killed Pearl, but the admission was made while he was being tortured and he was never charged with the crime. Sophia Saifi, CNN, "Pakistani court orders release of men previously convicted in Daniel Pearl murder," 25 Dec. 2020 He's been called the greatest action movie villain in Hollywood history: Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber, the meticulous mastermind behind the Christmas Eve Nakatomi Tower heist in 1988's Die Hard. James Hibberd,, "10 times Alan Rickman was incredible in Die Hard," 24 Dec. 2020 Kisses inspired Rihanna, the mastermind behind Fenty Beauty, to create this high-shine Gloss Bomb. Gabrielle Pharms, USA TODAY, "10 amazing beauty gifts from BIPOC-owned brands," 19 Dec. 2020 And Takhar was the perfect mastermind for the idea. Tomás Mier,, "Meet the Girls of Boys World! TikTok's Favorite Group Opens Up About Their Formation and Music," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That would be welcome news for Michael Taylor and his son Peter, who have languished in a county jail near Boston since May, awaiting their extradition to Japan where they are indicted for helping to mastermind Ghosn’s epic flight from Japan. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, "Japan’s jailing of Carlos Ghosn was overly ‘harsh’ and compromises their case, U.N. rights lawyers say," 23 Nov. 2020 The entire crux of Vine, which shut down in 2017, hinged on quantitative thrift: creators had to mastermind spurts of elliptical, comedic genius in six seconds. Jason Parham, Wired, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wields Brevity as a Superpower," 19 Aug. 2020 Rhino horn syndicates are multilevel criminal networks, with poachers and couriers managed and paid by regional bosses who mastermind and direct operations, receiving the rhino horns and supplying them to national-level traders. Laurel Neme, National Geographic, "This ‘rhino court’ had 100 percent poacher convictions. Why was it closed?," 18 Aug. 2020 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

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

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mastermind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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