mas·​tery | \ˈmas-t(ə-)rē \

Definition of mastery 

1a : the authority of a master : dominion

b : the upper hand in a contest or competition : superiority, ascendancy

2a : possession or display of great skill or technique

b : skill or knowledge that makes one master of a subject : command

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Examples of mastery in a Sentence

We were impressed by her mastery of the subject. She achieved a complete mastery of French. He struggled to gain mastery of his fears.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For all her mastery of great literature, however, Bell was most celebrated in her native Britain for her translations of the French-language Asterix comic-book series, about a village of Gauls resisting Roman occupation. Seattle Times Staff & News Services, The Seattle Times, "This week’s passages," 26 Oct. 2018 Because of her mastery of historical techniques and the extreme beauty of her work, some people might miss the message at the heart of it: Black lives do matter, and always have. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Painter Elizabeth Colomba Is Giving Art’s Hidden Figures Their Close-Up," 10 Oct. 2018 The result was a heroic mastery combined with the randomness of trash buoyed in the wind. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Even seemingly subtle shifts can make a major difference, like Serena Williams’s foray into the world of blonde balayage or Emma Stone’s mastery of a wide spectrum of reds. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "15 Celebrities Who Prove a Dye Job Makes a Huge Difference," 18 Oct. 2018 The designers presenting their third womenswear collection for the fashion house have shown their mastery of the Sander minimalist aesthetic but have developed the confidence to imbue it with some nostalgia. Colleen Barry, Fox News, "Milan Fashion: Arbesser embraces sustainability," 19 Sep. 2018 On that note, the Duchess of Sussex attended the Sentebale Polo today and perfectly displayed her mastery for high-low styling. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's $35 J.Crew Clutch Is the Summer Accessory You've Been Dreaming Of," 26 July 2018 His mastery of duck is also demonstrated in another appetizer, foie gras parfait ($24). Michael Bauer,, "Sorrel off to a stellar start in Pacific Heights," 6 July 2018 Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah's mastery is enough to scramble the experienced but ageing backline of Zinedine Zidane's side, where they are expected to add to their astonishing total of 29 goals in Europe this term., "Why Liverpool's Champions League Final Squad Is Capable of Making it Number 6 in Kiev," 24 May 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for mastery

Middle English maistrie, from Anglo-French mestrie, maistrie, from meistre master

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Statistics for mastery

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mastery

The first known use of mastery was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for mastery



English Language Learners Definition of mastery

: knowledge and skill that allows you to do, use, or understand something very well

: complete control of something


mas·​tery | \ˈma-stə-rē \

Kids Definition of mastery

1 : complete control The wrestler gained mastery over all of his opponents.

2 : a very high level of skill or knowledge He achieved a complete mastery of the language.

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More from Merriam-Webster on mastery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mastery

Spanish Central: Translation of mastery

Nglish: Translation of mastery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mastery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mastery

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


a nest or breeding place

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