Main meanings of master in English

: master1master2


Pronunciation /ˈmɑːstə/

Translate master into Spanish


  • 1historical A man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves.

    ‘he acceded to his master's wishes’
    • ‘The third type of government in the household is that of the lord over his slaves and the master over his servants…’
    • ‘By 1640 the social structure of the island consisted of masters, servants, and slaves.’
    • ‘The old law of master and servant saw the master as the head of the family.’
    • ‘Buying them back from the master is disastrous, as it encourages the master to keep more slaves.’
    • ‘Towns were also visited by plantation slaves, on their masters ' business or coming to sell the few vegetables and fruits they had managed to produce for market.’
    lord, overlord, lord and master, ruler, sovereign, monarch, liege, liege lord, suzerain
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who has complete control of something.
      ‘he was master of the situation’
      • ‘They were simply awesome, quite the masters of the situation.’
      • ‘But for the Prime Minister, usually the great master of these situations, it was close to a disaster.’
      • ‘Last evening, the master of all situations difficult went for a walk to make tough decisions.’
      • ‘Once masters of the situation, it is said, the zeal of those who promised reform mutated into a zeal to preserve their private wealth and that of their friends.’
      • ‘Choice must be available, so that the photographer may remain master of the situation’
      lord, overlord, lord and master, ruler, sovereign, monarch, liege, liege lord, suzerain
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2dated A male head of a household.
      ‘the master of the house’
      • ‘He asked me what my business was and I told him I had a letter of introduction for the master of the household.’
      • ‘He was the independent master of a peasant household, whose position was protected by the king's law.’
      • ‘He is a father, a master of household, a countryman, and hence a consummate member of a community.’
      • ‘The head of the household was a master to whom all other members had to submit in exchange for his protection.’
      • ‘In fact, young men needed willing women to assist them in assuming the status of household masters.’
    3. 1.3The owner of a dog, horse, or other domesticated animal.
      ‘in many ways dogs reflect the styles of their masters’
      • ‘In these stories, the horse accompanies his master through all kinds of hardships and danger.’
      • ‘The forest was still and quiet; the horses watched their masters placidly.’
      • ‘Even the animals knew their masters were excited, and were thus excited themselves.’
      • ‘I glared at her, the glare a maddened trapped animal gives its master.’
      • ‘They also went a good distance away from the horse and its master.’
      • ‘The horse walked to his master, and Haiden mounted it the best he could without his vision.’
      • ‘In all hunting cultures there is an owner; sometimes a master, but more often a mistress of the beasts.’
      • ‘The owners are not masters, but companions, say the volunteers.’
      • ‘They had slowed down a bit a while back, the horse perhaps sensing its master's grip was not as tight, or that he was not as attentive as usual.’
      • ‘With one crack of his whip into the air, the horses followed their master's command and began their foot cadence once again.’
      • ‘Remember also that the Guide Dog is a highly trained animal and will only heed the voice of his master.’
      • ‘It swam round the boat until its master, leaning over the bow, caught the animal by its short stump of a tail.’
      • ‘A little more leaning around the tree and I saw two white horses, grazing while their masters were still preoccupied.’
      • ‘The young people looked at all the animals flying away, at the dogs that bit their masters and were surprised at their pet's behavior.’
      • ‘But wild animals have been known to turn on their masters and well-intentioned defenders.’
      • ‘A white horse taking to the air, with his master astride it and the groom hanging on to the tail, represents renunciation.’
      • ‘The horse turned his head, regarding his master with confused eyes.’
      • ‘The animals on the farm revolt against their master, Jones.’
      • ‘The men were getting closer, and the poor horse couldn't carry her master.’
      • ‘His master got on after him, gave the horse a gentle kick, and she trotted towards the path leading out of the village.’
      owner, keeper
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4A machine or device directly controlling another.
      Compare with slave
      as modifier ‘a master cylinder’
      Compare with slave
      • ‘The main advantage of the cluster is that the computation power depends on the number of computers one adds to the master machine.’
      • ‘One device acts as a master and the devices connected to it act as slaves.’
      • ‘Whenever a machine becomes master, it takes over the virtual server address and continues with its original.’
      • ‘The master and slave devices are connected by a single address bus, a write data bus and a read data bus.’
  • 2A man in charge of an organization or group.

    ‘They had to act according to the dictates of the political masters.’
    • ‘The council's political masters would rather watch while the city chokes than get serious about exhaust fumes.’
    • ‘Success depends on an identity of goals between soldiers and their political masters, and a clear chain of command.’
    • ‘It's more like playing the game masters in a massive continuous role-playing session.’
    • ‘It was my first time playing in an RPG, let alone being the game master for one.’
    • ‘In French Indo-China, the Japanese kept the former colonial masters in nominal command.’
    • ‘The vice-chairperson of the organising committee will be master of ceremonies.’
    • ‘Promptly at 4: 15 p.m., we were instructed by master of ceremonies.’
    lord, overlord, lord and master, ruler, sovereign, monarch, liege, liege lord, suzerain
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1British A male schoolteacher.
      ‘the games master’
      • ‘The master of the public school said he was unable to make any further comment.’
      • ‘When he protested his innocence, his schoolmates sided with the master.’
      • ‘Look at him, walking around like he's the day master at a boarding school.’
      • ‘He is the school's third master, a housemaster and its head of Christian Theology.’
      • ‘All the cricketing vices for which prep school masters rebuke their charges were there.’
      • ‘Although he was a languages teacher, he was originally taken on at the school as a PE master.’
      • ‘He played the role throughout the series but his fellow pupils and the masters of Greyfriars School were portrayed by different actors during the show's long run.’
      • ‘At high school he was lucky to have a great hockey enthusiast as his school master.’
      • ‘Gone are the days when schools had masters, who commanded respect be it in the classroom or on the playing fields.’
      • ‘The games master would insist on everyone rattling along the floor, pounding on the springboard and doing amazing acrobatics above the large wooden horse.’
      • ‘From 1857 until 1865 he was mathematics master at Harrow School.’
      • ‘Then from 1874 to 1892 he was mathematics and science master at Glasgow High School.’
      • ‘Le Carré first met Green when the latter was chaplain and assistant master at Sherborne School, Dorset.’
      • ‘To earn a living he became the art master in a school for young ladies in Liverpool.’
      • ‘He noted that in most schools the art master was often not given much importance.’
      • ‘There was famously, possibly apocryphally, a public school classics master who took early retirement to go and become a Masai wife.’
      • ‘He heard some of the teachers and the academy master sorting through names.’
      • ‘In 1884 he went to Lancing College as a sixth-form master, developing an interest in Roman epigraphy in his leisure.’
      • ‘The master rattled off numbers at speed to be added, multiplied, etc and at the end hands shot up.’
      teacher, schoolteacher, schoolmaster, tutor, instructor, pedagogue
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2The head of a college or school.
      ‘The rogue gave the master of the college as referee, but in view of his story, the bank opened the account and collected the cheque without making enquiries.’
      • ‘First there was a general interview at which the candidates were grilled by the master, dean, senior tutor, and fellows of the subject.’
      • ‘He held the regius chair of Greek at Oxford for nearly 40 years and was master of Balliol College for more than 20 years.’
      • ‘The essays have to be attested by the class teacher or the head masters of the respective school.’
    3. 2.3The presiding officer of a livery company or Masonic lodge.
      ‘The master's lodge is also scheduled for a makeover, likely to cost £500,000.’
      • ‘This is an annual event, which is the result of what is considered to be the master of the lodge's annual charity appeal.’
      • ‘He is very high up in the lodge, past Worshipful master.’
      guru, teacher, spiritual leader, guide, mentor, torch-bearer, swami, roshi, maharishi
      View synonyms
    4. 2.4The captain of a merchant ship.
      ‘During the trip, Jones unexpectedly became the ship's master when its captain and first mate died suddenly.’
      • ‘The master of the ship was in command at the time of the incident.’
      • ‘A mariner emerges from the hatchway and climbs the rigging, while below the boatswain and ship's master are thrown about on deck.’
      • ‘As dawn broke, with the master's consent, sailors from the ship boarded the vessel.’
      • ‘The boatswain and master of the ship appear to say that it has been magically repaired and that the crew is safe.’
      • ‘The master of the ship gives him a look of reproach, but says nothing.’
      • ‘What the plaintiffs did then was to sue the purchasers of the indigo, which had been sold by the master of the ship, for the balance.’
      • ‘He was now the master of three ships and employed over two-dozen individuals.’
      • ‘The assured, if not present, would receive notice of the disaster from his agent, the master of the ship.’
      • ‘Long ago masters of ships found it comforting to find such beacons of light in the darkness.’
      • ‘They were able to swim down and then out of the hull to join eight other tourists and the yacht's master on the deck linking the hulls of the upturned craft.’
      • ‘The term used here refers to the command of a ship's master to his men, or a military officer to his soldiers.’
      • ‘The ship's master, observing this, remarked, ‘I would give a hundred guineas for the faith of that child’.’
      • ‘When the passage was half over, I observed the ship's master in tears arguing with his men, which made me very uneasy.’
      • ‘Three crew members, including the ship's master, are being questioned, according to a government statement.’
      • ‘First, you are a ship's master called upon to rescue some 430 people in the Indian Ocean.’
      • ‘Heather, who will work with three crew, qualified as a ship's master in 1979.’
      • ‘Your Honour, there were two parties prosecuted in each case, the master of the ship and the owner of the ship.’
      • ‘A large island was named Thistle's Island, after the ship's master and one of the eight drowned.’
      • ‘Safety used to be a matter for the ship's master but he now has a computer programme in his office to alert him whenever a scheduled safety inspection is due on any of his boats.’
      captain, skipper, commander
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5The person in control of a pack of hounds.
      ‘the master of the Aylesbury Vale Hunt’
      • ‘The poisoning of hounds forced half a dozen masters of packs of foxhounds to abandon hunting altogether, to the detriment of the local economy.’
      • ‘They have been bred to be vicious and as proof I can look no further than a late relative of mine who was a master of the hounds.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I have already had two fox hounds masters on the phone today to say it's a shabby deal.’’
      • ‘I can't see any master of hounds wanting to keep a pack of animals when they are serving no purpose.’
      • ‘The mens' horns sounded in triumph, and the master of hounds set his dogs baying.’
    6. 2.6(in England and Wales) an official of the Supreme Court.
      ‘It seems to me that neither the master nor the deputy judge made any error of law.’
      • ‘A master of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed both these applications.’
      • ‘She probably didn't appreciate that the master was without jurisdiction to make that order since her predecessor had obtained it.’
      • ‘The trial master held that the plaintiff could not recover anything.’
      • ‘All the judges and masters who have heard this say you are wrong and it seems to me that they are right.’
  • 3A skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity.

    ‘I'm a master of disguise’
    • ‘Strength, compassion, honor and skill elevate the practitioner to the master.’
    • ‘The FBI agent is tough, smart, and a master of disguise.’
    • ‘He is a master of disguise and concealment.’
    • ‘The boy was a master of disguise; I could never see him until he was standing beside me, talking to me.’
    • ‘He above all is a master of narrative, and these speeded-up interventions lend the tale an irregular pulse.’
    • ‘He was a master of disguise who used walnut juice to change the colour of his skin and would contort his face to avoid recognition.’
    • ‘He may be 40 this year, but he's also a master of disguise, an expert in the art of disappearing without trace.’
    • ‘The play is a thriller about the talented Mr Tom Ripley who is a master of deceit and disguise.’
    • ‘Which brings us back to the new album, in which the master of disguise exposes his true self at last.’
    • ‘The Professor is a natural master at explaining, with great clarity, highly complex issues without losing the viewer.’
    • ‘Yet Maugham was one of the great masters of clever narrative and construction, with a surprising range when it came to characters.’
    • ‘It was indeed the activity of the geniuses, of the masters of their craft, that made the rules.’
    • ‘It really is like camping out under the stars, said the master of the ancient craft.’
    • ‘It attracted some of the most learned, and sometimes also the most arrogant scholars of doctrine and masters of ritual practice.’
    • ‘I feel sure that the new generation of practitioners has no less talent than that of the great masters of the past.’
    • ‘A knight should be skilled in all weapons but a master in at least two.’
    • ‘Both have great natural charisma and both are masters at telling a story in the ring.’
    • ‘I am far from a master, but given some of my natural abilities, I quickly rose through my apprenticeship.’
    • ‘When he wants to be, he is a master of the macabre and a skilled technician of suspense.’
    • ‘He was a diligent preparation type of coach who really was a master of the practice.’
    expert, adept, genius, past master, maestro, virtuoso, professional, doyen, authority, pundit, master hand, prodigy, grandmaster, champion, star
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A great artist or musician.
      ‘follow in the footsteps of the masters and paint in locations made famous by their work’
      • ‘There he studied with both Canova and Thorvaldsen, the leading masters of Neoclassical sculpture.’
      • ‘All the collected works from the seven-week event are currently on show alongside masters like Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali.’
      • ‘His watercolours, for instance, have been influenced by such masters as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Henri Matisse.’
      • ‘This year, visitors can enjoy works by Surrealist masters such as Andre Masson and Giacometti, as well as work by Picasso.’
      • ‘Most musicians/artists aren't at the level of great masters of art, he admitted.’
      • ‘He plans to specialize in such masters as Picasso, Warhol, Yves Klein and Sonia and Robert Delaunay.’
      • ‘The figures of his angels are elongated, with wings stretched upward as if they were sculpted by the Gothic masters.’
      • ‘The most notable of these artists is the master of French Impressionism Pierre-Auguste Renoir.’
      • ‘He also challenged the earlier masters by painting portraits of local people over the original western works.’
      • ‘He could have become a great master of Japanese printmaking of the Meiji era.’
      • ‘The exhibition will also explore the influence of Venetian masters Titian and Tintoretto and will include work by Canaletto.’
      • ‘To achieve it, he studied the work of the Japanese masters Utamaro and Hokusai.’
      • ‘Especially famous are the work of such masters as Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Vermeer, and Jacob van Ruisdael.’
      • ‘She developed her early attraction to painting after discovering the Renaissance masters during a childhood trip to Italy.’
      • ‘Below the grand galleries and displays of old and modern masters, the Royal Academy is investing in a new generation of artists.’
      • ‘They were consummate musicians and masters of their instruments, and the listener is in very good hands with these gentlemen.’
      • ‘Two separate exhibitions focus on the drawings and oil sketches of the Flemish master.’
      • ‘The Golden Age produced the works of Rembrandt, Vermeer and other Dutch masters.’
      • ‘For example, in the 18th century, there was a trend to paint works as similar as possible to those of the earlier masters.’
      • ‘It featured more than 250 works by 20 masters drawn from the museum's extensive holdings.’
    2. 3.2A very strong chess player, especially one who has qualified for the title at international tournaments.
      See also grand master
      ‘a chess master’
      See also grand master
      • ‘All the young chess masters have been coached by titled players and most began regular instruction of one or two hours per week soon after learning the game.’
      • ‘Many of the greatest masters have recommended that chess should be studied from the endgame.’
      • ‘Did the old chess masters know something the modern champions don't?’
      • ‘If you wish to be a chess master, at least a basic understanding of most openings is called for.’
      • ‘Similar to chess masters, analysts look for convergent lines to indicate the possibility of attack.’
    3. 3.3treated as singular (in some sports) a class for competitors over the usual age for the highest level of competition.
      ‘It turned out that year's Masters was the most enjoyable tournament I have ever played.’
      • ‘He led the Masters that year as well, but so far this season has missed the cut in both the Masters and US Open.’
      • ‘He recorded 17.09 as he broke both the British and European Masters records in this event.’
      • ‘At issue was a possible protest at the club where the Masters will be played next April.’
      • ‘The Embassy World Championship and the Masters will remain separate from the main tour.’
  • 4usually in titles A person who holds a second or further degree.

    ‘a master's degree’
    • ‘a Master of Arts’
    • ‘He is a graduate of UH with master's degrees in Pacific Studies and History.’
    • ‘Some had master's and doctorate degrees, and some were Party members.’
    • ‘The number of researchers has doubled, and a larger proportion now have master's degrees and doctorates.’
    • ‘Higher education is defined as involving programs that award bachelor's, master's or doctorate degrees.’
    • ‘Although she desired a good job, Lin knew that she was not as competent as graduates with bachelor's and master's degrees.’
    • ‘Graduate study typically refers to programs that award master's or doctorate degrees.’
    • ‘He has a law degree and a master's degree in classical studies from Columbia University.’
    • ‘He received his bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. from Stanford University.’
    • ‘My department offers bachelor's and master's degrees but not a doctorate.’
    • ‘Most of them possessed master's degrees, and a few had earned their doctorates.’
    • ‘At the early age of fourteen he graduated with the degree of master of law.’
    • ‘He spent six years at the university before graduating with a master's degree in physics.’
    • ‘He holds double bachelors and master's degrees and has an extensive background of teaching and publishing.’
    • ‘You will need more than a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. degree to be successful in the new millennium.’
    • ‘The instructor was a registered nurse who had master's degree preparation.’
    • ‘I attended Oxford, and graduated with a master's degree in liberal arts.’
    • ‘Both men are currently pursuing master's degrees in preparation for future careers outside the church.’
    • ‘So he became a full-time student to get a master's degree in finance.’
    • ‘She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance and pedagogy.’
    • ‘After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, he took a masters degree and doctorate in engineering in Canada.’
    1. 4.1A postgraduate degree.
      ‘I had a master's in computer engineering’
      • ‘Vaughn is currently in graduate school pursuing a master's in business administration.’
      • ‘Lorenzo has a master's in communications from Boston University.’
      • ‘Corliss has a bachelor's degree from Saint Joseph's College in Philadelphia and a master's in film studies from Columbia University.’
      • ‘Since graduating from the University of Ulster with a master's in 1999 he has had numerous exhibitions in Ireland and London.’
      • ‘After the Olympics, I hope to attend graduate school and complete a master's in education.’
      • ‘He completed his BFA in Manitoba and was accepted to do his master's at Ohio State University.’
      • ‘He grew up in New Jersey and did his master's in Virginia and then stayed on to work at NASA Langley.’
      • ‘Some took the educational route, often majoring in political science or some related field, then attending law school or taking a master's in public affairs.’
      • ‘I went to Boston University for my master's in communications without any real idea of what I was going to do.’
      • ‘I wanted to work on my own films, so I began work on my master's at Concordia.’
      • ‘My master's thesis looks at the careers of Antonio Brico, Margaret Hillis, and Sarah Caldwell, three women conductors whose careers started in the early to mid 20th Century.’
      • ‘The two-campus program will give students bachelor's degree training as well as "the required foundation to pursue master's and doctoral studies in nursing," the statement said.’
      • ‘When I learned of the chance, I decided to study abroad, finishing my master's at a French university where I could hone my new skill.’
      • ‘Chia is currently pursuing a master's in developmental studies in The Netherlands.’
      • ‘Schoeman averaged 92,79 % throughout her years of study, and her master's thesis was described by two overseas academics as of "PhD standard".’
  • 5Used as a title prefixed to the name of a boy not old enough to be called ‘Mr’

    ‘Master James Wishart’
    • ‘Young Master John, please to understand it is not wise to disrespect and interrupt your elders if you wish to benefit from their knowledge and wisdom.’
    • ‘Bronte depicts young Master John Reed as virtually a paradigm of the Victorian bad boy, wallowing in gluttony, sadism, and a host of other deadly sins.’
    • ‘But I'd look between the benches at young master Charles on the playing field and think, that's where I should be.’
    • ‘Master Charles readily assented to his mother's proposal, and proceeded at once to the smoke-house to let Maria out.’
    1. 5.1archaic A title for a man of high rank or learning.
      • ‘The same year there came into England Master John, a Scot by nation, a man of an apprehensive mind and of singular eloquence.’
    2. 5.2The title of the heir apparent of a Scottish viscount or baron.
      ‘By tradition the heir apparent or indeed the heir presumptive to a Scottish peerage title is traditionally known as 'The Master of', or if the heir happened to be female as the 'The Mistress of'.’
      • ‘In Scotland many eldest sons are entitled to the designation of Master.’
  • 6An original recording, film, or document from which copies can be made.

    as modifier ‘the master tape’
    • ‘The quality is also poor because the transfer was taken from a tape master rather than the original 35 mm print.’
    • ‘The transfers are as good as they can be, given the state of the video master tapes these were culled from.’
    • ‘The soundtrack master seems to have been in good shape, as there is little trace of any kind of background distortions or hiss.’
    • ‘Much less, don't be offended if they take the master tapes home and record over them.’
    • ‘The final step is to transfer from the MiniDV master tape to VHS using the camcorder's phono outputs.’
    • ‘All the episodes are taken from original video masters, and now and then you notice some video noise or interference from their age.’
    • ‘But the NFB gave me the opportunity to make new masters of all of my films, so I went in with a colourist to make them visually perfect.’
    • ‘She admits that she has misplaced the masters of some of her earliest films and welcomes the new requirement.’
    • ‘Make sure to send the master because making a copy lowers the video quality so much that a company will automatically reject it.’
    • ‘The videos all look fairly good, as if derived from the original masters.’
    • ‘I do not fault BFS Video for this, as the aforementioned problems seem to stem from the original master.’
    • ‘Most of their tapes are masters from Japan so you get the best audio and video quality.’
    • ‘The Sydney-based production company was willing to dub episodes from the masters, but only at a prohibitive cost.’
    • ‘Carrying sufficient spatial resolution and bit depth in the digital master to meet foreseeable uses comes at some cost.’
    • ‘They also want to own your master recordings and copyrights forever.’
    • ‘The final activities prior to pressing the master disc were completed during this phase.’
    original, archetype, prototype
    View synonyms


  • 1Having or showing very great skill or proficiency.

    ‘you don't have to be a master chef in order to cook meat properly’
    • ‘a heart-warming story from a master storyteller’
    • ‘When she had reached the third grade at school, her teacher, a master painter, noticed her remarkable drawing skill.’
    • ‘A well thatched roof into which has gone the skill of a master craftsman can last for 50 years or even more depending on the pitch of the roof and where in the country it is.’
    • ‘Many bone items would be very cheap to make, since they utilised a material that would otherwise be thrown away and did not need the skills of a master craftsman.’
    • ‘Palau has long been a site of research in marine biology, building upon the scientific skills of Palauan master fishermen.’
    • ‘He combines the skills of a master dramatist with a social conscience and a tremendous sense of how to engage young people in live theatre.’
    • ‘He tells the tale of the precocious and gifted son of master court painter, who grows up illiterate but an exceptionally brilliant painter.’
    • ‘The colour concepts in the latest collection are rich and saturate the eye like the works of the Impressionist master painter Monet.’
    • ‘Wielding his blade like a master painter, his palette holds only one colour, and that is crimson.’
    • ‘Under the tutelage of master painters, amateurs get to learn how to give shape to their creativity.’
    • ‘Like a master painter, he uses each element as much as needed- and in the right places.’
    • ‘When a master painter would gaze upon a supposed masterpiece of his amateur years he would spit upon it.’
    • ‘After his journeyman years, which took him as far as Venice, he registered as a master painter in Augsburg in 1534.’
    • ‘The exhibition also features art works from master painters such as Picasso, Chagall, Rembrandt and Miro.’
    • ‘The one highway is the river, hence the Saramaka are expert canoeists and master canoe-builders.’
    • ‘The prose is taut and beautifully crafted, the story is woven with the intricate expertise of a master craftsman.’
    • ‘During the six weeks they will also get master classes from experts, to help them with their competition entry.’
    • ‘However, this is still a very moving work by a master filmmaker and a performer with skills to match.’
    • ‘While not a master tactician, he occasionally displayed flashes of brilliance.’
    • ‘He has also claimed to be a master hacker himself, in addition to being a financial wizard.’
    • ‘There are few master tailors around these days.’
    1. 1.1Denoting a person skilled in a particular trade and able to teach others.
      ‘a master bricklayer’
      • ‘I can't think of a finer person to have taught me the sport-he was a master technician who had a real knack for dealing with kids.’
      • ‘You don't need to be a master carpenter, but some basic skills and basic tools are necessary.’
      • ‘Our country has the pride of having master craftsmen who carve out exquisite products with their deft hands.’
      • ‘In this way, the book is only practical for the master carpenter but perhaps not the apprentice.’
      • ‘We have neglected vocational training, which can be given only in the workplace by experienced master craftsmen.’
      expert, adept, proficient, skilled, skilful, deft, dexterous, adroit, practised, experienced, masterly, accomplished, demon, brilliant
      View synonyms
  • 2Main; principal.

    ‘the apartment's master bathroom has a free-standing oval bathtub’
    • ‘I scored the first victory of the weekend by claiming the master bedroom - a sumptuous affair with a bay window and a lovely view of the river.’
    • ‘The master bedroom is ensuite and has a walk-in wardrobe with shelves.’
    • ‘On the first floor there is a master bedroom with en-suite shower room and balcony, and a second bedroom/study.’
    • ‘A circular whirlpool tub takes spotlight in the splendid master bathroom, facing the huge walk-in shower.’
    • ‘The master bathroom alone was larger than some apartments I've lived in.’
    • ‘I've added this season's performances to my master list of my 50 favorite performances.’
    • ‘There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spa-like master suite with a steam shower.’
    • ‘Straight ahead is the master bath, which separates the master bedroom on the left and the guest room/study on the right.’
    • ‘The master brake cylinder is now made of aluminum - better overall quality.’
    • ‘There is also room for eight guests in the four ensuite cabins, including a master stateroom and VIP bedroom.’
    principal, main, chief, leading, prime, predominant, foremost, great, grand, most important, biggest
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Acquire complete knowledge or skill in (a subject, technique, or art)

    ‘I never mastered Latin’
    • ‘Treatment strategies for asthma include daily self-management that relies on acquiring and mastering specific knowledge and skills.’
    • ‘It was a time when creating a role meant believing in the art rather than simply mastering the technique.’
    • ‘His technique of completely mastering a topic before drawing it allowed for this high level of demonstrative skill.’
    • ‘Besides exercising, you need to learn to master the art of relaxing mentally and not worry about everything around you.’
    • ‘Some of them possess the skills of astute politicians, and others have mastered the art of the political game.’
    • ‘The level of skill and courage needed to master the dangerous art of skateboarding at its highest level is truly awesome.’
    • ‘A student must pass 10 levels of the training programme to master the art.’
    • ‘Since there is so much to learn, they often feel it is a waste of time to master any one subject or skill.’
    • ‘He studied his opponents, learned their moves and dedicated himself to mastering the techniques necessary to stop them.’
    • ‘Artists and craftsmen learn and master the techniques of their craft and pass on the traditions to their sons and daughters.’
    • ‘Everyone's goal is to learn and master this martial art as far as possible.’
    • ‘As with most photographic techniques, mastering the technique is the easy part.’
    • ‘The people that dwelled here 8,000 years ago had learned to irrigate the land by means of canals and ditches, and had mastered the arts of agriculture.’
    • ‘For instance, a career in classical music is available to only a few privileged individuals; most people do not have the leisure to devote their lives to mastering the musical arts.’
    • ‘Without mastering the basic techniques before adding new ones, it's impossible to really practise well.’
    • ‘Alex can ride the unicycle, lie on a bed of nails, spin plates, juggle, deliver gags and is now mastering the art of puppetry.’
    • ‘No other society has mastered this art as well as we have.’
    • ‘He was a wonderful architect and builder of fiction, who had mastered the art of the novel through years of sustained writing.’
    • ‘A 15-year-old girl would be tattooed on the cheeks when she had mastered the art of weaving.’
    • ‘There's always a new skill to be mastered or a new technique to be learned.’
    learn, learn thoroughly, become proficient in, know inside out, know backwards, become expert in, acquire, pick up, grasp, understand
    View synonyms
  • 2Gain control of; overcome.

    ‘I managed to master my fears’
    • ‘Personality explores what it is that makes us who we are and uncovers the universal battle to master our emotions and control our behaviour.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if you'll find an easy answer: mastering control of your dreams enough to wake up at will may be a skill that takes a while to learn.’
    • ‘Humans then have a God given right to control and master nature.’
    • ‘At the same time, she says that mastering anxiety and fear by going through with the thing you're afraid of is a very powerful part of the thrill.’
    • ‘How he completed those missions, and mastered his fear, is the story he has set out to tell.’
    • ‘She threw her hands up in joy when she managed to master it.’
    • ‘I still don't like doing it and have to psych myself up to it but I am starting to master the fear.’
    • ‘Even people outside of these niches would have something to gain by mastering this device.’
    • ‘The majority of Asian cultures regard man as part of nature and believe that man should not try to overcome or master nature but should learn to adapt to it harmoniously.’
    • ‘But he was mastered by his fears and Lee's relentless aggressiveness, and his promising campaign came to nothing.’
    • ‘Jack and Mike laughed out loud at his reaction, watched as he unsuccessfully tried to master his fear and loathing.’
    • ‘He'd insisted that the best way to master one's fears was to confront them.’
    • ‘I sighed heavily, relived that he was not ill, but now trying to master a new fear.’
    • ‘Soldiers need to be sensitized to the effects of fear and have tools to master their fears.’
    • ‘I managed to master the impulse as I watched my drama friends do awesome in the first half of the first act.’
    • ‘In a sense, change is a sacred event that can be welcomed by the therapist, but not mastered or controlled.’
    • ‘You get a special hug if you guess who masters his fears and helps solve the puzzle.’
    • ‘Not only did they master the elements but they showed some beautiful ball control in the process.’
    • ‘This is an integral part of the perspective to overcome class antagonisms and enable the working class to master society.’
    • ‘The good news is that once you master your emotions, you can gain an edge.’
    overcome, conquer, beat, quell, quash, suppress, control, repress, restrain, overpower, triumph over, subdue, vanquish, subjugate, hegemonize, prevail over, govern, curb, check, bridle, tame, defeat, get the better of, get a grip on, get over, gain mastery over
    View synonyms
  • 3Make a master copy of (a film or recording)

    ‘all records are now being mastered and manufactured for us in the Netherlands’
    • ‘Georgie also called on Robyn to master the recording.’
    • ‘I wish someone would properly master this recording so that I can truly judge the overall quality.’
    • ‘The sound is also strong, with most of the films mastered in either Dolby 5.1 surround or stereo.’
    • ‘First, the films appear to have been mastered off of a Beta source.’
    • ‘The Dolby Digital sound is well mastered free of any distortion or hiss while the voices stay focused in the front channel.’


    be one's own master
    • Be independent or free to do as one wishes.

      ‘I'm going to take control—be my own master at last’
      • ‘The artist may be said to have been his own master, because, even when he was apprenticed to a painter he was taught less than he already knew.’
      • ‘To be one's own master and to control one's own destiny are the eternal desires of human beings, and democracy is the most significant system to help us realize this desire.’
      • ‘He is his own master and disciple in iconography.’
      • ‘I felt I could share with her the whole scope of emotions I was going through, and yet be my own master in the process.’
      • ‘The abolition of slavery recognized the pre-existing right of everyone to be his own master; it did not create such a right.’
      • ‘Jacob is his own master, and it is at his choosing when it comes to sharing his life.’
      • ‘No matter what happens, you shall never be your own master, not entirely.’
      • ‘When these people encounter a situation that they cannot solve - where they must be their own master - they just give up.’
      • ‘He was never given the chance to be his own master.’
      • ‘He decided that he would be his own master trying to make good on his moves all by himself.’
    make oneself master of
    • Acquire a thorough knowledge of or facility in.

      ‘he made himself master of the political philosophy of Burke’
      • ‘The important secret of war is to make oneself master of the communications’


Old English mæg(i)ster (later reinforced by Old French maistre), from Latin magister; probably related to magis ‘more’.

Main meanings of master in English

: master1master2


Pronunciation /ˈmɑːstə/

Translate master into Spanish


in combination
  • A ship or boat with a specified number of masts.

    ‘a three-master’
    • ‘Here, Bruegel depicted a four-master and two three-masters anchored near a fortified island capped by a lighthouse.’
    • ‘Technically speaking, a three master is a full-rigged ship.’