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

Examples from the Web for masterstroke

Contemporary Examples of masterstroke

  • If that was what was in his mind three years ago—it was a masterstroke and one that may end up prolonging his regime.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Obama Administration Has Assad Amnesia

    Jamie Dettmer

    December 4, 2014

  • Raising 9/11 at the debate as a psychic event rather than one of national security was a masterstroke that won the day.

    The Daily Beast logo
    McCain's Poignant Valedictory

    Tina Brown

    October 8, 2008

Historical Examples of masterstroke

  • Dada used to say, that it is the devil's masterstroke to get us to accuse him.

  • When Fanny returned with your letter this morning, I prepared for a masterstroke.

    Great Porter Square, v. 3

    Benjamin Leopold Farjeon

  • As for you, Susan, it was a masterstroke your venturing into my den.

  • Matcham often thinks of the masterstroke by which he won the laughing witch who now.


    James Joyce

  • It was a masterstroke, and so Sybil pronounced it afterwards.

    Leonore Stubbs

    L. B. Walford

British Dictionary definitions for masterstroke



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