from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Principal performance; masterpiece; chef-d'œuvre.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A piece done to prove possession of skill sufficient to be ranked a master.
  • noun A piece of quality, indicative of having been made by a master; a masterpiece.
  • noun obsolete An act of primary importance.
  • noun obsolete A main drain or irrigation channel.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Although I will say its achievement as a genuine cinematic masterwork is often overlooked because of: A) its far-reaching effects on American culture; B) it’s become one of those films whose actual artistry has somehow gotten lost because it’s on TV all the time (Who wants to talk about it anymore?

    JAWS – 30th Anniversary Edition | Kung Fu Rodeo 2005

  • His masterwork is the set of four Rabbit Angstrom novels, a thousand pages in all, one novel every ten years from 1960 to 1990.

    Guest Post: Michael Peskin on John Updike Sean 2009

  • It's as if their masterwork is a symphony written in the key of silence.

    Jules Dassin's Film Noir Triumph 2008

  • His masterwork is the earth itself and the diversity of plant life, animal life, the diversity of natural experiences including sunrises, sunsets, misty mornings, etc., all testify to the abundance of His creativity.

    Inspire Magazine News 2009

  • His so-called masterwork "The Invisibles" travels up its own rear at points, but is still excellent.

    Word Magazine - Comments sitheref2409 2008

  • His so-called masterwork "The Invisibles" travels up its own rear at points, but is still excellent.

    Word Magazine - Comments spiderboy 2008

  • 'masterwork' - fun fun film but i hate when critics overqualify says ...

    Hollywood Elsewhere 2010

  • "Whither American indie films?" asks Howard Feinstein at, appropriately enough, indieWIRE, where he finds signs of healthy evolution in Alex Holdridge's "masterwork," In Search of a Midnight Kiss, and signs of withering malaise in Kevin Connolly's Gardener of Eden.

    GreenCine Daily: Tribeca, 5/2. 2007

  • I wish it were a clever joke too, but I have actually read Spinrad's POD "masterwork", and I have to report that, sadly, it is not.

    Norman Spinrad, Messiah 2005

  • With The Instance of the Fingerpost, Pears created a new kind of masterwork-a historical novel constructed intricately to work like clockwork, which glides sequentially from one subjective narrator to another, so that each section unveils new explanations that upend the previous narrator's picture of the characters 'motivations and actions.

    The Inverse Square Blog 2009


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