- 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
- Acting or capable of acting as a master or leader, especially in being domineering or imperious: “Do you agree with me that I have a right to be a little masterful, abrupt; perhaps exacting, sometimes” (Charlotte Bront&edie;).
- Having or showing mastery or skill; expert: a masterful technique; masterful at filmmaking.
(comparative more masterful, superlative most masterful)
- Of or pertaining to the manner of a master of an art, technique, profession, or craft; masterly.
- The brushwork on the skin tones was masterful.
- In the manner of a master; very skillful.
- The masterful conducting ensured the orchestra gave of their best.
- Having or showing the qualities of a master vis-a-vis a dependent or subordinate; authoritative; domineering.
Historically, definition 3 of masterful (authoritative, domineering) has long been losing ground to definitions 1 and 2 (masterly, skillful). In nineteenth century US usage of masterful, definition 3 was almost always meant (10:1). In contemporary US usage, however, the situation is reversed: definitions 1 or 2 are usually meant (10:1).
master +"Ž -ful