or mas·ter stroke

[mas-ter-strohk, mah-ster-]


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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for master-stroke

achievement, advantage, triumph, victory

Examples from the Web for master-stroke

Historical Examples of master-stroke

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for master-stroke



an outstanding piece of strategy, skill, talent, etcyour 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

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