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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for past master



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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 Does this past master of starting crazes see the Reddit phenomenon as a long-overdue democratization of the stock market, or a frenzy detached from the fundamentals of investing? Shawn Tully, Fortune, "The real ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ has some thoughts about the stock market—and Bitcoin," 22 Mar. 2021 The locked-room mystery—not just a whodunnit but a how-done-it—pays homage to past masters such as John Dickson Carr and Gaston Leroux. The Economist, "A beloved Japanese detective at last appears in English," 18 Dec. 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of past master

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for past master

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The first known use of past master was in 1762

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Statistics for past master

Last Updated

28 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Past master.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

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