Meaning of MASTER in English


I. mas ‧ ter 1 S2 W2 /ˈmɑːstə $ ˈmæstər/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1000-1100 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: maistre and the word it came from, Latin magister 'chief' ]

1 . SKILLED PERSON someone who is very skilled at something

master of

Runyon was a master of the short story.

a master of disguise

Hitchcock was an acknowledged master of suspense.

master at (doing) something

She’s a master at manipulating people.

a work of art by a true master

2 . be a past master (at something) British English to be very good at doing something because you have done it a lot:

He’s a past master at getting free drinks out of people.

3 . MAN WITH AUTHORITY old-fashioned

a) a man who has control or authority over servants or workers ⇨ mistress :

You’ll have to ask the master’s permission.

b) the male owner of a dog ⇨ mistress

4 . be your own master to be in control of your own life or work:

Determined to be his own master, Simmons quit in 1998 and started working freelance.

5 . be master of your own fate/destiny literary to be in complete control of what happens to you:

Our country must be master of its own economic destiny.

6 . ORIGINAL a document, record etc from which copies are made:

I gave him the master to copy.

7 . Master of Arts/Science/Education etc a university ↑ degree in an ↑ art s subject, a science subject etc that you can get after your first degree ⇨ ↑ MA , ↑ M.Sc. , ↑ MEd , ↑ MPhil , ⇨ Bachelor of Arts/Science/Education etc at ↑ bachelor (2)


a) British English old-fashioned a male teacher ⇨ headmaster , headmistress

b) ( also Master ) a wise person whose ideas and words other people accept and follow:

a Zen master

9 . YOUNG BOY ( also Master ) old-fashioned used when speaking or referring to a young boy:

How’s young Master Toby today?

10 . UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL ( also Master ) the person who is in charge of some university colleges in the UK:

the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge

11 . CAPTAIN old-fashioned someone who is in charge of a ship

⇨ ↑ grand master , ↑ old master , ↑ quizmaster

II. master 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 . to learn a skill or a language so well that you have no difficulty with it:

the skills needed to master a new language

I never quite mastered the art of walking in high heels.

2 . to manage to control a strong emotion SYN overcome :

He had learned to master his fear of heights.

• • •


▪ learn to gain knowledge of a subject or skill, especially by being taught or trained:

How long have you been learning Italian?


What age can you learn to drive in America?

▪ study to learn about a subject by reading books, going to classes etc, especially at school or university:

She’s studying music at Berkeley College in California.

▪ train to learn the skills and get the experience that you need in order to do a particular job:

Julie’s training to be a nurse.

▪ pick something up to learn something without much effort, by watching or listening to other people:

It’s easy to pick up a language when you’re living in a country.


The rules of the game are easy – you’ll soon pick them up.

▪ get the hang of something informal to learn how to do or use something that is fairly complicated, especially with practice:

It took me a while to get the hang of all the features on my new camera.

▪ revise British English , review American English to study facts again, especially on your own, in order to learn them before an examination:

Jenny’s upstairs revising for her Maths exam tomorrow.

▪ master to learn something so well that you have no difficulty with it, especially a skill or a language:

She gave me a book called ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.


I learnt Spanish for years but I never really mastered it.

III. master 3 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

1 . a master copy of a document, recording etc is the one from which copies are made

master list/copy/recording etc

We’ve lost the master disk.

2 . most important or main:

the master control center at NASA

3 . master craftsman/chef/plumber etc someone who is very skilled at a particular job, especially a job that involves working with your hands:

a society of master chefs

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.