mas·​ter·​work | \ ˈma-stər-ˌwərk How to pronounce masterwork (audio) \

Definition of masterwork

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of masterwork in a Sentence

his most famous novel is regarded as a masterwork of Western literature

Recent Examples on the Web

The novel has been rightly praised as a masterwork of realism, and the scenes are cacophonous with noises and pungent with smells. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Black and White, in Wind and Fog," 22 Feb. 2019 William Hauptman’s adaptation shows the scars of rewriting and, of course, no 150 minutes of performance can hope to do more than evoke and salute such a literary masterwork. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: 35 years ago ‘Big River’ started flowing in La Jolla," 25 June 2019 Let no masterwork be your goal — a modest goal may lead you further than you dream.’’ Ms. Krantz had met her husband through her high school friend Barbara Walters, who introduced the two in 1953. Sandy Cohen,, "Judith Krantz, best-selling author of racy romance novels, dies at 91," 23 June 2019 But perhaps no work influenced Star Wars more than Dune, and now Denis Villeneuve, the director responsible for bringing Frank Herbert's masterwork to the big screen, is exploring one of Star Wars' more direct influences: the Bene Gesserit. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Dune' Director Is Making a TV Show About the Bene Gesserit (aka the Original Jedi)," 11 June 2019 The result is both a refreshing gimmick and a masterwork in execution. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Dark Phoenix isn’t an epic X-Men conclusion—but it’s a darned good teen flick," 7 June 2019 Even today, there is no great painting from the 1650s, and other museums (such as the Hermitage) have smaller but perhaps more potent collections of major masterworks. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "The Rijksmuseum displayed ‘all the Rembrandts,’ and crowds went crazy," 7 June 2019 Sometimes Jiangnan is tagged with a rep for bland, overly plain cooking; this kind of masterwork erases such notions. Bill Addison,, "Review: Does Jiang Nan Spring have the SGV’s best Shanghainese food?," 6 June 2019 For all that Napoleon’s name had been erased, the masterwork is nevertheless haunted by him. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'masterwork.' 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 masterwork

1617, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about masterwork

Statistics for masterwork

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for masterwork

The first known use of masterwork was in 1617

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for masterwork



English Language Learners Definition of masterwork

: a great work of art

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on masterwork

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with masterwork

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for masterwork

Spanish Central: Translation of masterwork

Nglish: Translation of masterwork for Spanish Speakers

Comments on masterwork

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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