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or master stroke

[mas-ter-strohk, mah-ster-] /ˈmæs tərˌstroʊk, ˈmɑ stər-/
a masterly action or achievement; an extremely skillful or effective action:
War was avoided by a masterstroke of diplomacy.
Origin of masterstroke
First recorded in 1670-80; master + stroke1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for master-stroke
Historical Examples
  • Yes, you have not yet heard Marmaduke's master-stroke of policy!

  • Long after Bar got made Attorney-General, this was told of him as a master-stroke.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • It was a master-stroke: and he had staked a good deal on it.

  • Surely this was the very triumph of crime, a master-stroke of villany.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • On the other hand, I see here a great chance for a master-stroke.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • Decidedly he was no hunter, although his first shot had been a master-stroke!

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
  • Lionbruno came, and with a master-stroke carried off the star.

    Italian Popular Tales

    Thomas Frederick Crane
  • This falsehood was a master-stroke, for only half a sack had been found.

    Red Men and White Owen Wister
  • She had made many master-strokes, but this was the master-stroke.

  • That was truly a master-stroke, for Parliament to give it us cheaper than it could be had at home!

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for master-stroke


an outstanding piece of strategy, skill, talent, etc: your idea is a masterstroke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for master-stroke

"masterly line or touch" (especially in painting), 1670s, from master (n.) + stroke (n.). Probably based on a Dutch or German model.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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