[mas-ter, mah-ster]



verb (used with object)

Origin of master

before 900; Middle English maistre, maister, Old English magister < Latin; akin to magnus great
Related formsmas·ter·less, adjectiveout·mas·ter, verb (used with object)sub·mas·ter, nounun·der·mas·ter, nounun·mas·tered, adjectivewell-mas·tered, adjective

Synonyms for master Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mastering

grasp, understand, comprehend, swamp, cram, study, acquire, grind

Examples from the Web for mastering

Contemporary Examples of mastering

Historical Examples of mastering

  • Did she hate him for his mastering of circumstances but not herself?

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • For nearly ten years the disease kept on mastering me more and more.

  • He set himself the infinite task of mastering the difficult language.

  • How tremendous is the quick succession of mastering passions!

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • Mastering his emotion, de Loubersac decided to make a clean breast of it.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

British Dictionary definitions for mastering



the man in authority, such as the head of a household, the employer of servants, or the owner of slaves or animalsRelated adjective: magistral
  1. a person with exceptional skill at a certain thinga master of the violin
  2. (as modifier)a master thief
(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 influencethey 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
a player of a game, esp chess or bridge, who has won a specified number of tournament games
the principal of some colleges
a highly regarded teacher or leader whose religion or philosophy is accepted by followers
a graduate holding a master's degree
the chief executive officer aboard a merchant ship
a person presiding over a function, organization, or institution
mainly British a male teacher
an officer of the Supreme Court of Judicature subordinate to a judge
the superior person or side in a contest
a machine or device that operates to control a similar one
(often capital) the heir apparent of a Scottish viscount or baron
(modifier) overall or controllingmaster plan
(modifier) designating a device or mechanism that controls othersmaster switch
(modifier) main; principalmaster bedroom
the master Southern African informal the man of the house

verb (tr)

to become thoroughly proficient into master the art of driving
to overcome; defeatto master your emotions
to rule or control as master
Derived Formsmasterdom, nounmasterhood, nounmasterless, adjectivemastership, noun

Word Origin for master

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



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



early 13c., "to get the better of," from master (n.) and also from Old French maistrier, from Medieval Latin magistrare. Meaning "to reduce to subjugation" is early 15c.; that of "to acquire complete knowledge" is from 1740s. Related: Mastered; mastering.



late Old English mægester "one having control or authority," from Latin magister (n.) "chief, head, director, teacher" (source of Old French maistre, French maître, Spanish and Italian maestro, Portuguese mestre, Dutch meester, German Meister), contrastive adjective ("he who is greater") from magis (adv.) "more," from PIE *mag-yos-, comparative of root *meg- "great" (see mickle). Form influenced in Middle English by Old French cognate maistre. Meaning "original of a recording" is from 1904. In academic senses (from Medieval Latin magister) it is attested from late 14c., originally a degree conveying authority to teach in the universities. As an adjective from late 12c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mastering


see past master.

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