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master Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun an artist of consummate skill
    • a master of the violin
    • one of the old masters
  2. noun a person who has general authority over others
    lord; overlord.
  3. noun a combatant who is able to defeat rivals
    superior; victor.
  4. noun directs the work of others
  5. noun presiding officer of a school
    headmaster; schoolmaster.
  6. noun an original creation (i.e., an audio recording) from which copies can be made
    master copy; original.
  7. noun an officer who is licensed to command a merchant ship
    captain; skipper; sea captain.
  8. noun someone who holds a master's degree from academic institution
  9. noun an authority qualified to teach apprentices
  10. noun key that secures entrance everywhere
    passe-partout; master key; passkey.
  11. verb be or become completely proficient or skilled in
    get the hang.
    • She mastered Japanese in less than two years
  12. verb get on top of; deal with successfully
    get over; subdue; overcome; surmount.
    • He overcame his shyness
  13. verb have dominance or the power to defeat over
    • Her pain completely mastered her
    • The methods can master the problems
  14. verb have a firm understanding or knowledge of; be on top of
    • Do you control these data?
  15. adjective satellite most important element
    chief; main; primary; principal.
    • the chief aim of living
    • the main doors were of solid glass
    • the principal rivers of America
    • the principal example
    • policemen were primary targets
    • the master bedroom
    • a master switch

Mast"er noun
  1. (Naut.) A vessel having (so many) masts; -- used only in compounds; as, a two-master.
Mas"ter noun
OE. maistre, maister, OF. maistre, mestre, F. maître, fr. L. magister, orig. a double comparative from the root of magnus great, akin to Gr. . Cf. Maestro, Magister, Magistrate, Magnitude, Major, Mister, Mistress, Mickle.
  1. A male person having another living being so far subject to his will, that he can, in the main, control his or its actions; -- formerly used with much more extensive application than now. (a) The employer of a servant. (b) The owner of a slave. (c) The person to whom an apprentice is articled. (d) A sovereign, prince, or feudal noble; a chief, or one exercising similar authority. (e) The head of a household. (f) The male head of a school or college. (g) A male teacher. (h) The director of a number of persons performing a ceremony or sharing a feast. (i) The owner of a docile brute, -- especially a dog or horse. (j) The controller of a familiar spirit or other supernatural being.
  2. One who uses, or controls at will, anything inanimate; as, to be master of one's time. Shak.
    Master of a hundred thousand drachms. Addison.
    We are masters of the sea. Jowett (Thucyd. ).
  3. One who has attained great skill in the use or application of anything; as, a master of oratorical art.
    Great masters of ridicule. Maccaulay.
    No care is taken to improve young men in their own language, that they may thoroughly understand and be masters of it. Locke.
  4. A title given by courtesy, now commonly pronounced mìster, except when given to boys; -- sometimes written Mister, but usually abbreviated to Mr.
  5. A young gentleman; a lad, or small boy.
    Where there are little masters and misses in a house, they are impediments to the diversions of the servants. Swift.
  6. (Naut.) The commander of a merchant vessel; -- usually called captain. Also, a commissioned officer in the navy ranking next above ensign and below lieutenant; formerly, an officer on a man-of-war who had immediate charge, under the commander, of sailing the vessel.
  7. A person holding an office of authority among the Freemasons, esp. the presiding officer; also, a person holding a similar office in other civic societies. Master, signifying chief, principal, masterly, superior, thoroughly skilled, etc., is often used adjiectively or in compounds; as, master builder or master-builder, master chord or master-chord, master mason or master-mason, master workman or master-workman, master mechanic, master mind, master spirit, master passion, etc.
    Throughout the city by the master gate. Chaucer.
Mas"ter transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Mastered ; present participle verbal noun Mastering
  1. To become the master of; to subject to one's will, control, or authority; to conquer; to overpower; to subdue.
    Obstinacy and willful neglects must be mastered, even though it cost blows. Locke.
  2. To gain the command of, so as to understand or apply; to become an adept in; as, to master a science.
  3. To own; to posses. Obs.
    The wealth That the world masters. Shak.
Mas"ter intransitive verb
  1. To be skillful; to excel. Obs.

Webster 1913