- fond of acting the part of a master; domineering; imperious
- having or showing the ability of a master; expert; skillful; masterly: usage objected to by some
See masterful in American Heritage Dictionary 4
- Given to playing the master; imperious or domineering.
- Fit to command.
- Revealing mastery or skill; expert: a masterful technique; masterful moviemaking.
Related Forms:Usage Note:
According to a widely repeated dictum, masterful
should be reserved for the sense “imperious, domineering” (as in a masterful tone of voice
), whereas masterly
should be the choice when the intended sense is “having the skill of a master” (as in a masterly performance of the sonata
). The distinction can serve a useful purpose, but masterful
in the latter sense has long been common in reputable writing and cannot be regarded as incorrect.
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