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

  • adj. Having or showing the knowledge or skill of a master. See Usage Note at masterful.
  • adv. With the skill of a master.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. That has been executed in the manner of one who is a master; extremely competently.
  • adv. In a masterful manner; competently.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Suitable to, or characteristic of, a master; indicating thorough knowledge or superior skill and power; showing a master's hand
  • adj. Imperious; domineering; arbitrary.
  • adv. With the skill of a master.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or characteristic of a master; characteristic of one who is master of his art or subject.
  • Acting like a master; imperious; domineering; masterful.
  • In a masterly manner; with the skill or ability of a master.

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

  • adj. having or revealing supreme mastery or skill


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From master +‎ -ly.


  • Christ in masterly fashion drew a distinction between God and emperor while at the same time decreeing obedience to both God and emperor [1] – a fact that did not prevent the imperial procurator's condemnation of Christ to death on the cross.

    Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog:

  • ‘With pleasure,’ said I, and playing another measure in masterly fashion, sang thereto these couplets,

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The painters, hearing these words, applied themselves with all diligence to do what he required of them and wrought it out in masterly style; and when they had made an end of the work, they showed it to the Wazir who, seeing his so-called dream set forth as it was280 was pleased and thanked them and rewarded them munificently.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • One of the many charms of The Letters of Kingsley Amis (2000), which has been edited in masterly fashion by Zachary Leader, is the way in which the collection demonstrates the slow transformation of this symbiotic relationship, whereby each man took on some of the qualities of the other and mutated rather nicely into a counterpart rather than an opposite.

    The Man of Feeling

  • The superiority of his picture over Falconer's, lies in the simplicity and strength of the style, in the ease of the narrative, in the variety of the incidents and characters, and in certain short masterly touches, now of pathos, now of infernal humour, and now of description, competent only to Byron and to

    The Poetical Works of Beattie, Blair, and Falconer With Lives, Critical Dissertations, and Explanatory Notes

  • He says that paper plus water, plus emotion will give a result in themselves and proceeds with the idea at hand in what may without the least temerity be called a masterly fashion; he has run the gamut of experience with his materials from the earliest

    Adventures in the Arts Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets

  • Parker, indeed, they could not easily turn away, but Lord Peter found himself confronted with a surly manner and what Lord Beaconsfield described as a masterly inactivity.

    Whose Body

  • Since my midnight discovery I felt pretty certain that I could identify the ghost; and as I recalled the masterly way in which Mose had led and directed the hunt, I decided that he was cleverer than Rad had given him credit for.

    The Four Pools Mystery

  • Her turning away her lover _now_ is just the act of what the French call a masterly woman -- _maitresse femme.

    A Terrible Temptation A Story of To-Day

  • A facility in composing, a lively, and what is called a masterly handling the chalk or pencil, are, it must be confessed, captivating qualities to young minds, and become of course the objects of their ambition.

    Seven Discourses on Art


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