[ mas-ter-mahynd, mah-ster- ]
/ ˈmæs tərˌmaɪnd, ˈmɑ stər- /

verb (used with object)

to plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully: Two colonels had masterminded the revolt.


a person who originates or is primarily responsible for the execution of a particular idea, project, or the like: the masterminds of company policy.

Nearby words

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

Origin of mastermind

First recorded in 1710–20; master + mind Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mastermind

British Dictionary definitions for mastermind


/ (ˈmɑːstəˌmaɪnd) /


(tr) to plan and direct (a complex undertaking)he masterminded the robbery


a person of great intelligence or executive talent, esp one who directs an undertaking
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 mastermind



1720, "an outstanding intellect," from master (n.) + mind (n.). Meaning "head of a criminal enterprise" is first attested 1872. As a verb from 1940. Related: Masterminded; masterminding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper