Definition of masterful in English:

masterful

adjective

  • 1Powerful and able to control others.

    ‘behind the lace and ruffles was a masterful woman’
    • ‘Many have called Sonia's action, a masterful strategy, and even if this were to be true, it does not matter.’
    • ‘He said a lot of other things that suggested what a masterful politician Bill can be.’
    • ‘She's very masterful, very domineering and would look great in leather.’
    • ‘This was Ireland in dominant mode, masterful and confident in their control as they turned on the style.’
    • ‘Very few teachers can feel masterful in such a classroom setting.’
    commanding, powerful, controlling, imposing, magisterial, lordly, authoritative, dominating, domineering, overbearing, overweening, imperious, bossy, peremptory, high-handed, arrogant, autocratic, dictatorial, tyrannical, despotic
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  • 2Performed or performing very skillfully.

    ‘a masterful assessment of the difficulties’
    • ‘If India's batting was masterful, their bowling in truly testing conditions was even more creditable.’
    • ‘It is a masterful performance spoken in a second language which has clearly improved over the years.’
    • ‘With masterful technique and an unhinged mad scene, she commanded the first act.’
    • ‘But it wasn't just the kids who loved his masterful two-hour solo performance.’
    • ‘Carroll's performance is masterful and has been deservedly acclaimed by local critics.’
    • ‘Still, the masterful tone and astonishingly sophisticated writing in this novel redeem a lot of the awkwardness.’
    • ‘If I were able to play any instrument with masterful skill and grace it would be the cello.’
    • ‘It shows someone who had a masterful command of language that gave the facility to speak and write eloquently.’
    • ‘The effort stands as an excellent example of the masterful execution of a joint special operation.’
    • ‘It is unquestionably masterful in its mellow execution, but ultimately it's background music for designer shopping.’
    • ‘There are no shortcuts to masterful results; the students must control their efforts.’
    • ‘She has a masterful command of the language and a manner of speaking that is precise and confident.’
    • ‘Her masterful brush strokes and use of colour fired up many critics and curators and received immediate recognition.’
    • ‘It was a great, masterful performance and was all about the sweet science of boxing.’
    • ‘This was a masterful combination of flavours and textures - and excellent value too.’
    • ‘In other words, we know nothing about our deft and masterful artist except for his name.’
    • ‘I loved the first one for its sophisticated camerawork, intricate plot and masterful performances.’
    • ‘On one level it was masterful, but it was also riddled with amazing leaps of logic and agonizing moments of drama.’
    • ‘It's a masterful performance that is easily among his most bare and honest.’
    • ‘Technically, it is quite masterful, but is at times distracting in its cleverness.’
    expert, adept, clever, masterly
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Usage

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’

Pronunciation:

masterful

/ˈmastərfəl/