View synonyms for master


[ mas-ter, mah-ster ]


  1. a person with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of something:

    a master of six languages;

    to be master of one's fate.

    Synonyms: expert, adept

  2. an owner of enslaved people, in the institution of chattel slavery; a slaveholder:

    Antebellum laws and codes in the South restricted the circumstances under which masters could free African Americans from slavery.

  3. an owner of a pet or other animal:

    The dog waited at the end of the lane every evening to greet his master coming home.

  4. Older Use. the male head of a household:

    As the oldest son, he felt a lot of pressure to act as the master of the house after his father’s passing.

  5. Older Use. an employer of workers or servants:

    The valet unpacked his master’s luggage prior to his arrival.

  6. Sometimes Master. the dominant sexual partner in a BDSM relationship of unequal power.
  7. a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation, art, or science:

    the great masters of the Impressionist period.

  8. a person whose teachings others accept or follow:

    a Zen master.

  9. Chiefly British. a male teacher or schoolmaster.
  10. a worker qualified to teach apprentices and to carry on a trade independently.
  11. a title given to a bridge or chess player who has won or placed in a certain number of officially recognized tournaments.
  12. a person holding this title.
  13. Also called mas·ter mar·i·ner [mas, -ter , mar, -, uh, -ner, mah, -ster]. a person who commands a merchant ship; captain.
  14. a victor or conqueror.
  15. a presiding officer.
  16. an officer of the court to whom some or all of the issues in a case may be referred for the purpose of taking testimony and making a report to the court.
  17. the Master. Christianity. Jesus Christ.
  18. a person who has been awarded a master's degree.
  19. a boy or young man (used chiefly as a term of address).
  20. Also called matrix. an original document, drawing, manuscript, etc., from which copies are made.
  21. Machinery, Computers. a device or process that controls another device or process operating in a similar way. Compare slave ( def 5 ).
  22. Recording.
    1. an audio disk or tape from which duplicates may be made.
  23. Computers an original data file or disk from which duplicates may be made.
  24. Also called cop·y neg·a·tive [kop, -ee , neg, -, uh, -tiv]. Photography. a film, usually a negative, used primarily for making large quantities of prints.
  25. Archaic. a work of art produced by a master.


  1. being master; exercising mastery; dominant.
  2. chief or principal:

    a master list.

  3. directing or controlling:

    a master switch.

    Synonyms: cardinal, prime, primary, leading, main

  4. of or relating to a master from which duplicates are made:

    a master recording;

    the master copy of a piece of software.

    The master film had been misfiled in the archives.

  5. dominating or predominant:

    a master play.

  6. being a master of some occupation, art, etc.; eminently skilled:

    a master diplomat;

    a master pianist.

  7. being a master carrying on one's trade independently, rather than a worker employed by another:

    a master plumber.

  8. characteristic of a master; showing expert skill, ability, or knowledge:

    The chosen design was a master achievement that still amazes architects, engineers, and scientists today.

    Synonyms: skillful, expert, adept

verb (used with object)

  1. to make oneself master of; become an adept in:

    to master a language.

  2. to conquer or overcome:

    to master one's pride.

    Synonyms: control, subdue

  3. to rule or direct as master:

    to master a crew.

    Synonyms: manage, govern

  4. Recording. to produce a master audio file, disk, phonograph record, or tape of:

    The producer recorded, mixed, and mastered the new album.



/ ˈmɑːstə /


  1. a title of address placed before the first name or surname of a boy
  2. a respectful term of address, esp as used by disciples when addressing or referring to a religious teacher
  3. an archaic equivalent of Mr



/ ˈmɑːstə /


  1. the man in authority, such as the head of a household, the employer of servants, or the owner of slaves or animals magistral
    1. a person with exceptional skill at a certain thing

      a master of the violin

    2. ( as modifier )

      a master thief

  2. often capital a great artist, esp an anonymous but influential artist
    1. a person who has complete control of a situation
    2. an abstract thing regarded as having power or influence

      they regarded fate as the master of their lives

    1. a workman or craftsman fully qualified to practise his trade and to train others in it
    2. ( as modifier )

      master carpenter

    1. an original copy, stencil, tape, etc, from which duplicates are made
    2. ( as modifier )

      master copy

  3. a player of a game, esp chess or bridge, who has won a specified number of tournament games
  4. the principal of some colleges
  5. a highly regarded teacher or leader whose religion or philosophy is accepted by followers
  6. a graduate holding a master's degree
  7. the chief executive officer aboard a merchant ship
  8. a person presiding over a function, organization, or institution
  9. a male teacher
  10. an officer of the Supreme Court of Judicature subordinate to a judge
  11. the superior person or side in a contest
  12. a machine or device that operates to control a similar one
  13. often capital the heir apparent of a Scottish viscount or baron
  14. modifier overall or controlling

    master plan

  15. modifier designating a device or mechanism that controls others

    master switch

  16. modifier main; principal

    master bedroom

  17. the master informal.
    the man of the house


  1. to become thoroughly proficient in

    to master the art of driving

  2. to overcome; defeat

    to master your emotions

  3. to rule or control as master

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Derived Forms

  • ˈmasterdom, noun
  • ˈmastership, noun
  • ˈmasterˌhood, noun
  • ˈmasterless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • mas·ter·less adjective
  • out·mas·ter verb (used with object)
  • sub·mas·ter noun
  • un·der·mas·ter noun
  • un·mas·tered adjective
  • well-mas·tered adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of master1

First recorded before 900; Middle English maistre, maister, Old English magister, from Latin; akin to magnus “great”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of master1

Old English magister teacher, from Latin; related to Latin magis more, to a greater extent

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Idioms and Phrases

see past master .

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Example Sentences

And that gets to the heart of what makes the game so incredible: By staying silent, it turns the player into the game master.

Dickens was a master of heart-wrenching pathos because he felt every pain as he wrote.

Why was a master photographer recruited to work with one of the most successful liquor brands on the planet?

So the master artist traveled to Beijing and shot in a former palace not far from the Forbidden City.

Hitchcock saw the work of, and probably met, Murnau, the great German filmmaker--the earliest master of bleak light and shadow.

And with some expressions of mutual good-will and interest, master and man separated.

The "bad form" of telling a lie to the head-master is a later illustration of the same thing.

Here and there exceptional industry or extraordinary capacity raised the artisan to wealth and turned the "man" into the "master."

Why should not Aristide, past master in drumming, find an honourable position in the orchestra of the Tournée Gulland?

The secretary trembled in his every limb; his eyes shunned his master's as his master's had shunned Garnache's awhile ago.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




-mastedmaster aircrew