Master of the Universe
The "highly successful business person" sense is derived from Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy line and media franchise, which was launched in 1982. It was first used as such in the 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (see quotations).
- (religion) God
1849, Lynch, William Francis, Narrative Of The United States Expedition To The River Jordan And The Dead Sea:
- Constantine inscribed these words on the pedestal:— Oh Christ! king and master of the universe, I consecrate this humble tower, this sceptre, and the power of Rome, to thee!
1879, Darmesteter, James, “The Supreme God in the Indo-European Mythology”, in Littell's Living Age, volume 143, number 1845:
- Svarogu, the god of the ancient pagan Slavs, should no doubt equally be placed. Like Zeus, like Jupiter, like Varuna, like Ahura Mazda, he is the master of the universe, the gods are his children, and it is from him that they have received their functions.
1913, Catholic Encyclopedia, Duty:
- To God, the Supreme Master of the universe, our Creator, the All Holy, All Good, we owe honour, service, obedience, and love.
- (idiomatic) A powerful person
- (idiomatic) A highly successful business person
1987, Wolfe, Tom, The Bonfire of the Vanities:
- The Masters of the Universe were a set of lurid, rapacious plastic dolls that his otherwise perfect daughter liked to play with. […] On Wall Street he and a few others — how many? — three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? — had become precisely that... Masters of the Universe. There was no limit whatsoever!
2008, Johnson, Boris, Conservative Party Conference:
- No matter how much you may dislike the Masters of the Universe, my friends, there are plenty of other parts of the universe that would welcome them.
2010 June 2, Samuel, Henry, “Vivendi Universal's 'Master of the Universe' Messier trial begins”, in The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 13 July 2010:
- The man who once boasted he was "master of the universe" for making Vivendi a global media giant arrived in less triumphant fashion on Wednesday – through the back door of a Paris court.