Definition of masterful in English:

masterful

Line breaks: master|ful
Pronunciation: /ˈmɑːstəfʊl
 
, -f(ə)l/

adjective

1Powerful and able to control others: he looked masculine and masterful
More example sentences
  • This was Ireland in dominant mode, masterful and confident in their control as they turned on the style.
  • She's very masterful, very domineering and would look great in leather.
  • Very few teachers can feel masterful in such a classroom setting.
Synonyms
2Performed or performing very skilfully: a masterful assessment of the difficulties
More example sentences
  • I loved the first one for its sophisticated camerawork, intricate plot and masterful performances.
  • But it wasn't just the kids who loved his masterful two-hour solo performance.
  • It's a masterful performance that is easily among his most bare and honest.
Synonyms
skilful, skilled, adroit, proficient, deft, dexterous, accomplished, polished, excellent, superb, superlative, consummate, first-rate, peerless, fine
informal crack, stellar, ace
North American badass

Usage

Some writers maintain a distinction between masterful and masterly, using masterful to meanpowerful and able to control others’ ( a masterful tone of voice) and masterly to mean ‘with the skill of a master’ ( a masterly performance). In practice the two words overlap considerably in the second meaning: more than half the citations for masterful in the Oxford English Corpus relate to the sense ‘with the skill of a master’.

Derivatives

masterfully

adverb
More example sentences
  • Plato had again masterfully turned a disadvantage into an advantage.
  • The Moments were indeed masterfully played from memory but did not communicate as much as I imagine they could.
  • You might expect this to result in flat, bland recordings, but those songs are masterfully arranged and never less than feverishly exciting.

masterfulness

noun
More example sentences
  • And as they move from their audacious overture through sombre ballads, Motown-inflected rock-outs and further Velvetesque anthems, the band's masterfulness becomes more and more apparent.
  • And I think you can see the benefits of it in the quality, the masterfulness, of Linda.
  • He was a more attractive character than any of the Norman kings - but he lacked their masterfulness.

Definition of masterful in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunty
Pronunciation: ˈdʒɔːnti
adjective
having a lively, cheerful, and self-confident manner...