mas·​tery | \ ˈmas-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce mastery (audio) \

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

His mastery—of fabric, design, silhouette, and the very process of creative reinvention—was a breathtaking thing to behold. Amy Synnott, Harper's BAZAAR, "Glenda Bailey on Karl Lagerfeld’s “Wicked Sense of Humor” and Enduring Legacy," 19 Feb. 2019 Foy’s mastery of the subtle response was very much in evidence in the series. Gavanndra Hodge, WSJ, "Claire Foy Steps Into the Spotlight," 9 Jan. 2019 No one ever sees you with all of your puppet mastery or whatever, and all of a sudden, to be that person ... Eric Johnson, Recode, "Google’s former PR boss Jessica Powell wrote a satirical novel about tech and published it all on Medium," 2 Oct. 2018 Their mastery of social media was essential to their rise to the top of the terrorism game, surpassing al-Qaeda and the like. Sean Illing, Vox, "How social media became a weapon of war," 8 Oct. 2018 Kathy Aloisio, Lafayette’s director of elementary schools, said grades should reflect a student’s mastery of a subject, not homework, which some students can get help with at home. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "Down With Homework, Say U.S. School Districts," 12 Dec. 2018 Cherry’s mastery of the tricky print proves, once and for all, that there’s no age limit on daring style. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Neneh Cherry Proves There’s No Age Limit on Leopard Print," 7 Dec. 2018 There’s much to appreciate in [creator and showrunner Steven] Conrad’s mastery of building tension toward ludicrous outcomes in some case, or punctuating stretches of relative calm with explosions of chaos and violence. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Amazon’s unheralded spy dramedy returns for a second season.," 20 Nov. 2018 That said, the full complement of items makes the game a bit more approachable for complete newcomers, while also taking away a lot of the sense of growth and mastery that comes from building Link's original arsenal one piece at a time. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo gives Switch subscribers decked-out NES Zelda save file," 10 Oct. 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

27 Feb 2019

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 How to pronounce mastery (audio) \

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 shady place in a garden or forest

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