masterful

[ mas-ter-fuhl, mah-ster- ]
/ ˈmæs tər fəl, ˈmɑ stər- /

adjective

dominating; self-willed; imperious.
having or showing the qualities of a master; authoritative; powerful.
showing mastery or skill; masterly: a masterful performance.

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Origin of masterful

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at master, -ful

usage note for masterful

At an earlier time, both masterful and masterly had two senses: “having a commanding or domineering nature or manner” and “possessing the skill of a master.” The earliest sense of masterly, “having a commanding nature,” has been obsolete since the 18th century. Masterful continues to be used in all varieties of speech and writing in both senses, despite the protests of some who prefer that masterful be restricted to the sense “dominating or imperious”: The envoy's masterful behavior irritated the citizens. Few painters have produced so many masterful (or masterly ) portraits.

OTHER WORDS FROM masterful

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH masterful

masterful masterly (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for masterful

British Dictionary definitions for masterful

masterful
/ (ˈmɑːstəfʊl) /

adjective

having or showing mastery
fond of playing the master; imperious
masterly

Derived forms of masterful

masterfully, adverbmasterfulness, noun

usage for masterful

The use of masterful to mean masterly as in a masterful performance, although common, is considered incorrect by many people
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