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maister (plural maisters)

  1. Obsolete form of master.
    • 1580, Thomas Tusser, “Januaries husbandrie”, in Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie: [], London: [] Henrie Denham [beeing the assigne of William Seres] [], →OCLC; republished as W[illiam] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. [], London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., [], 1878, →OCLC, stanza 28, page 81:
      Ewes yeerly by twinning rich maisters doo make, the lamb of such twinners for breeders go take.
    • 1561, John Awdely, “The Orders of Knaues”, in The Fraternitye of Vacabondes; republished in Viles, Edward; Furnivall, Frederick James, editors, Awdeley’s Fraternitye of Vacabondes, Harman’s Caveat, Haben’s Sermon, &c., London: Early English Text Society, 1869, page 13:
      Rince Pytcher is he that will drinke out his thrift at the ale or wine, and be oft times dronke. This is a licoryce knaue that will swill his Maisters drink, and brybe his meate that is kept for him.
    • 1576, T[homas] R[ogers], “Of Loue”, in A Philosophicall Discourse, Entituled, The Anatomie of the Minde. [], London: [] I[ohn] C[harlewood] for Andrew Maunsell, [], →OCLC, folio 22, recto:
      Diuilliſh it is to deſtroy a cittie, but more then diuilliſhe, to euert citties, to betraye countreies, to cause ſeruaunts to kyll their maiſters, parentes theyr children, children their parentes, wiues their huſbandes, and to turne all things topſy turuy, and yet it doth ſo, as ſhalbe declared.
    • c. 1583, Philip Sidney; Evelyn Shirley Shuckburgh, An Apologie for Poetrie, published 1891, page 1:
      Hee sayde, they were the Maisters of warre, and ornaments of peace: speedy goers, and strong abiders: triumphers both in Camps and Courts.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book II, Canto VII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], part I (books I–III), London: [] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 271:
      Pilot [] / Vpon his card and compas firmes his eye, / The maiſters of his long experiment, / And to them does the ſteddy helme apply [].
    • 1592, H. Chettle, Kind-hartes Dreame, page 20:
      [] and fare at all tymes as harde as poor Mopos Cut did with his maiſters countreyman in Shorditch, till, by the force of his hinder heeles, he vtterly vndid two milch maydens, that had ſet vp a ſhoppe of Ale-drapery.
    • 1617, John Davies, Wits Bedlam, London: [] G. Eld, []:
      It’s a mad world my Maisters. And a merry world my Mistrisses.


maister (third-person singular simple present maisters, present participle maistering, simple past and past participle maistered)

  1. (dialectal) To master; to gain control over.
    • 1851, Sir Walter Scott, The Tale of Old Mortality:
      D'ye think I am to be John Tamson's man, and maistered by women a' the days o' my life ?
    • 1873, Philip Sidney, Alexander Balloch Grosart, The Complete Poems of Sir Philip Sidney, page 9:
      Thus Reason said: but she came, Reason vanished; Her eyes so maistering me, that such objection Seem'd but to spoile the foode of thoughts long famishēd;
    • 1949, Joseph Hall, Arnold Davenport, Collected poems, page 25:
      And now hath wrong so maistered the right, That they liue best, that on wrongs offall light,
    • 1992, Alan Sinfield, Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading, →ISBN:
      Guyon's good behavior, in contrast, seems always precarious— in Acrasia's garden, he suffered no delight To sink into his sense, nor mind affect, But passed forth, and looked still forward right, Bridling his will, and maistering his might.


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old French maistre and Old English mǣġester, both from Latin magister.


maister (plural maisters)

  1. master; lord; ruler
    • 14th Century, Chaucer, General Prologue:
      In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
      For there he was nat lyk a cloysterer
      With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
      But he was lyk a maister or a pope
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • 1407, The Testimony of William Thorpe, page 40–41:
      And I seide, “Ser, in his tyme maister Ioon Wiclef was holden of ful many men the grettis clerk that thei knewen lyuynge vpon erthe. And therwith he was named, as I gesse worthili, a passing reuli man and an innocent in al his lyuynge. And herfore grete men of kunnynge and other also drowen myche to him, and comownede ofte with him. And thei sauouriden so his loore that thei wroten it bisili and enforsiden hem to rulen hem theraftir… Maister Ion Aston taughte and wroot acordingli and ful bisili, where and whanne and to whom he myghte, and he vsid it himsilf, I gesse, right perfyghtli vnto his lyues eende. Also Filip of Repintoun whilis he was a chanoun of Leycetre, Nycol Herforde, dane Geffrey of Pikeringe, monke of Biland and a maistir dyuynyte, and Ioon Purueye, and manye other whiche weren holden rightwise men and prudent, taughten and wroten bisili this forseide lore of Wiclef, and conformeden hem therto. And with alle these men I was ofte homli and I comownede with hem long tyme and fele, and so bifore alle othir men I chees wilfulli to be enformed bi hem and of hem, and speciali of Wiclef himsilf, as of the moost vertuous and goodlich wise man that I herde of owhere either knew. And herfore of Wicleef speciali and of these men I toke the lore whiche I haue taughte and purpose to lyue aftir, if God wole, to my lyues ende.”
      (please add an English translation of this quote)


  • English: master (see there for further descendants), mister (see there for further descendants)
  • Scots: maister