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past master

See more synonyms for past master on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a person who is thoroughly experienced or exceptionally skilled in a profession, art, etc.: a past master at chess.
  2. a person who has held the office of master in a guild, lodge, etc.
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Origin of past master

First recorded in 1755–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

master

Examples from the Web for past master

Historical Examples

  • These are laws of sincerity which not even a past-master in the laws of the stage can afford to neglect.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • I can speak on the matter like a professor, for I was past-master in the science.

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • It was Louis Laplante, that past-master in the art of diplomatic deception.

  • He was keen of wit and a past-master in the delicate art of flattery.

    The Man of the Desert

    Grace Livingston Hill

  • "You're certainly a past-master at making a mess of things," William continued.

    Otherwise Phyllis

    Meredith Nicholson


British Dictionary definitions for past master

past master

noun
  1. a person with talent for, or experience in, a particular activitya past master of tact
  2. a person who has held the office of master in a Freemasons' lodge, guild, etc
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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

Idioms and Phrases with past master

past master

A person who is thoroughly experienced or exceptionally skilled in some activity or craft. For example, We're lucky to get Ella, because she's a past master at fundraising. This expression probably alludes to the original literal meaning, that is, one who formerly held the post of master in a lodge or other organization. Although past mistress was used for an exceptionally skilled woman in the mid-1800s, it is heard less often today, master serving for both sexes. [Mid-1800s]

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