Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A masterpiece, especially in literature or art.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A masterpiece; a capital work in art, literature, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A masterpiece; a superlatively fine work in art, literature, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the most outstanding work of a creative artist or craftsman

Etymologies

French chef d'œuvre : chef, head, beginning + de, of + œuvre, work.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • In 1974, only a couple of years after Kubrick abandoned "Napoleon" to the snows of time, Burgess wrote a novel, "The Napoleon Symphony," that might have been devised as a reproach to Kubrick for never calling him to enliven his unmade chef-d'oeuvre.

    How Stanley Kubrick Met His Waterloo

  • Unfortunately, their chef-d'oeuvre wasn't that good.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • For many, "In Cold Blood" -- in which he sacrificed facts on the altar of art and showed less empathy for the victims than for their murderers -- is his chef-d'oeuvre.

    Capote's Small, Exquisite Gem

  • Seen from a view of posterity, her "boring" job was to provide Julia Child with the discipline, the autonomous organizational skill, the patience to devise, test and perfect the recipes in her encyclopedic chef-d'oeuvre: "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (1961, 1970), on which her immortality can be said to rest.

    Julia Child: The OSS Years

  • Seen from a view of posterity, her "boring" job was to provide Julia Child with the discipline, the autonomous organizational skill, the patience to devise, test and perfect the recipes in her encyclopedic chef-d'oeuvre

    Julia Child: The OSS Years

  • He explains that each pitch typically lasts two to three minutes before judges either pull the ripcord on the stammering pathetic loser and his harebrained scheme, or persevere with the kook's chef-d'oeuvre.

    U.K. Tycoon Is Man Behind ABC's 'American Inventor'

  • No doubt we can admire the architectonic structure of these systems aesthetically, as we would un chef-d'oeuvre de l'art.

    METAPHYSICAL IMAGINATION

  • Le drame, l'épopée savante, l'élégie attestent aujourd'hui encore la puissance et la souplesse de ce magnifique génie; seul entre les disciples de Sarasvatî [the goddess of eloquence], il a eu le bonheur de produire un chef-d'oeuvre vraiment classique, où l'Inde s'admire et où l'humanité se reconnaît.

    Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works

  • La cour de Vikrâmaditya frémit d'une émotion sereine et profonde: un chef-d'oeuvre nouveau vient d'entrer dans l'immortalité.

    Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works

  • L'auteur applaudi de Mâlavikâ ... le poète dont le souple génie s'accommode sans effort au ton de l'épopée ou de l'élégie, Kâlidâsa vient d'achever une comédie héroïque annoncée comme un chef-d'oeuvre par la voix de ses amis ....

    Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works

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