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



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.


Some writers maintain a distinction between masterful and masterly, using masterful to mean ‘powerful 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’.

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a slit made by cutting with a saw