[ mas-ter-lee, mah-ster- ]
/ ˈmæs tər li, ˈmɑ stər- /


like or befitting a master, as in skill or art; worthy of a master; very skillful: a masterly presentation of the budget.


in a masterly manner.

Nearby words

  1. master-stroke,
  2. master-work,
  3. masterclass,
  4. masterful,
  5. masterfully,
  6. mastermind,
  7. masterpiece,
  8. masters,
  9. masters, edgar lee,
  10. mastership

Origin of masterly

First recorded in 1375–1425, masterly is from the late Middle English word maisterly. See master, -ly

Related formsmas·ter·li·ness, noun

Can be confusedmasterful masterly (see usage note at masterful)

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for masterly

British Dictionary definitions for masterly


/ (ˈmɑːstəlɪ) /


of the skill befitting a mastera masterly performance
Derived Formsmasterliness, noun

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 masterly



1530s, "overbearing;" 1660s, "skillful," from master (n.) + -ly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper