Definition of masterful in English:


Syllabification: mas·ter·ful
Pronunciation: /ˈmastərfəl


1Powerful and able to control others: behind the lace and ruffles was a masterful woman
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.
commanding, powerful, imposing, magisterial, lordly, authoritative;
dominating, domineering, overbearing, overweening, imperious
2Performed or performing very skillfully: 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.


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’.



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.


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: