past master


Definition of past master

1 : one who has held the office of worshipful master in a lodge of Freemasons or of master in a guild, club, or society
2 [alteration of passed master] : one who is expert : adept

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for past master



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of past master in a Sentence

He's a past master at finding ways to get out of trouble. They are past masters of the art of propaganda.
Recent Examples on the Web When the ensemble made its first national tour, playing Orchestra Hall in September 1992, Marsalis and friends were trying to show that America needed a world-class jazz orchestra that could honor past masters while forging future ones. Howard Reich,, "Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra review: Wynton Marsalis and friends take on ‘Jazz Ambassadors’," 16 Nov. 2019 Like Carmela, museums are past masters at putting a respectable face on barbarism. Rhonda Lieberman, The New Republic, "Painting Over the Dirty Truth," 23 Sep. 2019 After all, the big fees that credit card companies and banks extract from merchants are ripe for disruption––and Sprecher's a past master at making an array of transactions faster and cheaper. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Will the Bakkt Launch Help Bitcoin Go Mainstream?," 20 Sep. 2019 The projects that make up the bond propositions have been identified by residents through the citizen satisfaction survey, past master plans and citizen boards. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce to host presentation on Sugar Land bond program," 29 Aug. 2019 Mr Haradinaj is a past master at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The Economist, "Kosovo’s prime minister faces war-crimes allegations," 25 July 2019 Then there’s Chicago trumpeter Orbert Davis’ homage to one of the South Side’s most revered past masters, pianist Willie Pickens. Howard Reich,, "Chicago stories will unfold at 13th Hyde Park Jazz Festival," 7 June 2019 Nevertheless, Chinese investors are past masters of finding new assets for speculation when central banks suddenly start handing out cash. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Handicapping the Next China Bubble," 24 Apr. 2018 Bill was a part owner of Travelers Woods of New England Campground, an NCT member, serving as secretary, and past Master of the Putnam Lodge of Masons No. 46 AM & FM. Hartford Courant,, "Bill Wright," 16 Jan. 2018

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

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about past master

Time Traveler for past master

Time Traveler

The first known use of past master was in 1762

See more words from the same year

Statistics for past master

Cite this Entry

“Past master.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for past master

past master


English Language Learners Definition of past master

: a person who has done something many times before and has become very skilled at doing it

More from Merriam-Webster on past master

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for past master

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with past master

Comments on past master

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!