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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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.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, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From Old French maistrie.



mastery (usually uncountable, plural masteries)

  1. The position or authority of a master; dominion; command; supremacy; superiority.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh (ca.1554-1618)
      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.
    • Exodus, xxxii. 18
      The voice of them that shout for mastery.
    • 1 Corinthians, ix. 25.
      Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
    • Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
      O, but to have gulled him / Had been a mastery.
  3. (obsolete) Contest for superiority.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Holland to this entry?)
  4. (obsolete) A masterly operation; a feat.
  5. (obsolete) The philosopher's stone.
  6. The act or process of mastering; the state of having mastered; expertise.
    • John Tillotson (1630-1694)
      He could attain to a mastery in all languages.
    • John Locke (1632-1705)
      The learning and mastery of a tongue, being unpleasant in itself, should not be cumbered with other difficulties.


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