[mas-ter-uh t-ahrmz, mah-ster-]

noun, plural mas·ters-at-arms.

an officer of a fraternal organization, veterans' society, or the like, empowered to maintain order, exclude unauthorized persons, etc.
Navy. a petty officer who has various duties, such as keeping order on the ship, taking charge of prisoners, etc.

Origin of master-at-arms

First recorded in 1740–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for master-at-arms

Historical Examples of master-at-arms

  • The master-at-arms and all the sentinels sunk to rise no more.

  • The master-at-arms, who had been looking for him, told him that he was wanted on the quarterdeck.

    The Rival Crusoes

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • “Boy Rayner, the captain has sent for you into the cabin,” said the master-at-arms.

  • You got drunk, sir; take him aft, master-at-arms, and put him in irons.

    Rattlin the Reefer

    Edward Howard

  • The master-at-arms resumes his station on the chest outside.

    The King's Own

    Captain Frederick Marryat

British Dictionary definitions for master-at-arms


noun plural masters-at-arms

the senior rating, of Chief Petty Officer rank, in a naval unit responsible for discipline, administration, and police duties
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