From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English maistery, maistrie, mastere, mastry, from Old French maistrie.



mastery (usually uncountable, plural masteries)

  1. The position or authority of a master; dominion; command; supremacy; superiority.
    • c. 1610, Sir Walter Raleigh, The Misery of Invasive War:
      If divided by mountains, they will fight for the mastery of the passages of the tops.
    • 1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, in The Lonely Pyramid:
      The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. Whirling wreaths and columns of burning wind, rushed around and over them.
  2. Superiority in war or competition; victory; triumph; preeminence.
  3. The act or process of mastering; the state of having mastered; expertise.
    • 1664, John Tillotson, “Sermon I. The Wisdom of Being Religious. Job XXVIII. 28.”, in The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC:
      He [] could attain to a mastery in all languages.
    • 1693, [John Locke], “§173”, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education, London: [] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, [], →OCLC:
      The learning and mastery of a tongue, being unpleasant in itself, should not be cumbered with other difficulties.
    • 1941 November, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 484:
      At Tebay however, he began to get the mastery over these untoward conditions, and actually got back a little time up to Shap, after which all was plain sailing.
  4. (obsolete) A contest for superiority.
    • 1623, John Speed, The Historie of Great Britain Under the Conquests of the Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans, page 596:
      [] pastimes of wrestling, and like maſteries betweene the Citizens of London and others of the Suburbes []
    • 1936, John Clayton, The Anger of the North, page 69:
      Rury has given the word for some rare sport — a bout of games and masteries between me and Marcos Serkman to prove which is the better man.
    • 1929, Delphian Society, “Delphian Text”, in Paolo and Francesca, volume 7, page 441:
      Come, Paolo, we two have never held / A mastery between us — tell me out!
  5. (obsolete) A masterly operation; a feat.
    • 1516, Robert Fabyan, New cronycles of Englande and of Fraunce:
      Ye welsh men..brake out vpon the Englysshe men in ye Bordour..and there made masteryes for a whyle.
    • 1546, John Bale, The actes of Englysh votaryes:
      That ye maye knowe..what masteryes they haue played.
    • 1592, Angell Day, The English secretorie:
      By a number of odde doo yet suppose to haue wrought a mastery.
    • 1905, John Stephen Farmer, “Thersites”, in Six Anonymous Plays, page 212:
      Why, thou cowardly knave, no stronger than a duck, Darest thou try masteries with me a-pluck.
    • 1909, Selwyn Image, “The Serious Art of Thomas Rowlandson”, in The Burlington Magazine, volume 14, page 12:
      To accomplish this is a great mastery, a rare mastery: but it is an accomplishment that seems to have been Rowlandson's easily whenever he would.
    • 1910, John Merrill Davis, Striving for Masteries and Other Baccalaureate Sermons, page 5:
      And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully.
  6. (obsolete) The philosopher's stone.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “mastery”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.