The old masters

The old masters
Master Mas"ter (m[.a]s"t[~e]r), n. [OE. maistre, maister, OF. maistre, mestre, F. ma[^i]tre, fr. L. magister, orig. a double comparative from the root of magnus great, akin to Gr. me`gas. Cf. {Maestro}, {Magister}, {Magistrate}, {Magnitude}, {Major}, {Mister}, {Mistress}, {Mickle}.] 1. A male person having another living being so far subject to his will, that he can, in the main, control his or its actions; -- formerly used with much more extensive application than now. (a) The employer of a servant. (b) The owner of a slave. (c) The person to whom an apprentice is articled. (d) A sovereign, prince, or feudal noble; a chief, or one exercising similar authority. (e) The head of a household. (f) The male head of a school or college. (g) A male teacher. (h) The director of a number of persons performing a ceremony or sharing a feast. (i) The owner of a docile brute, -- especially a dog or horse. (j) The controller of a familiar spirit or other supernatural being. [1913 Webster]

2. One who uses, or controls at will, anything inanimate; as, to be master of one's time. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Master of a hundred thousand drachms. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

We are masters of the sea. --Jowett (Thucyd.). [1913 Webster]

3. One who has attained great skill in the use or application of anything; as, a master of oratorical art. [1913 Webster]

Great masters of ridicule. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

No care is taken to improve young men in their own language, that they may thoroughly understand and be masters of it. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

4. A title given by courtesy, now commonly pronounced m[i^]ster, except when given to boys; -- sometimes written {Mister}, but usually abbreviated to Mr. [1913 Webster]

5. A young gentleman; a lad, or small boy. [1913 Webster]

Where there are little masters and misses in a house, they are impediments to the diversions of the servants. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

6. (Naut.) The commander of a merchant vessel; -- usually called {captain}. Also, a commissioned officer in the navy ranking next above ensign and below lieutenant; formerly, an officer on a man-of-war who had immediate charge, under the commander, of sailing the vessel. [1913 Webster]

7. A person holding an office of authority among the Freemasons, esp. the presiding officer; also, a person holding a similar office in other civic societies. [1913 Webster]

{Little masters}, certain German engravers of the 16th century, so called from the extreme smallness of their prints.

{Master in chancery}, an officer of courts of equity, who acts as an assistant to the chancellor or judge, by inquiring into various matters referred to him, and reporting thereon to the court.

{Master of arts}, one who takes the second degree at a university; also, the degree or title itself, indicated by the abbreviation M. A., or A. M.

{Master of the horse}, the third great officer in the British court, having the management of the royal stables, etc. In ceremonial cavalcades he rides next to the sovereign.

{Master of the rolls}, in England, an officer who has charge of the rolls and patents that pass the great seal, and of the records of the chancery, and acts as assistant judge of the court. --Bouvier. --Wharton.

{Past master}, (a) one who has held the office of master in a lodge of Freemasons or in a society similarly organized. (b) a person who is unusually expert, skilled, or experienced in some art, technique, or profession; -- usually used with at or of.

{The old masters}, distinguished painters who preceded modern painters; especially, the celebrated painters of the 16th and 17th centuries.

{To be master of one's self}, to have entire self-control; not to be governed by passion.

{To be one's own master}, to be at liberty to act as one chooses without dictation from anybody. [1913 Webster]

Note: Master, signifying chief, principal, masterly, superior, thoroughly skilled, etc., is often used adjectively or in compounds; as, master builder or master-builder, master chord or master-chord, master mason or master-mason, master workman or master-workman, master mechanic, master mind, master spirit, master passion, etc. [1913 Webster]

Throughout the city by the master gate. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

{Master joint} (Geol.), a quarryman's term for the more prominent and extended joints traversing a rock mass.

{Master key}, a key adapted to open several locks differing somewhat from each other; figuratively, a rule or principle of general application in solving difficulties.

{Master lode} (Mining), the principal vein of ore.

{Master mariner}, an experienced and skilled seaman who is certified to be competent to command a merchant vessel.

{Master sinew} (Far.), a large sinew that surrounds the hough of a horse, and divides it from the bone by a hollow place, where the windgalls are usually seated.

{Master singer}. See {Mastersinger}.

{Master stroke}, a capital performance; a masterly achievement; a consummate action; as, a master stroke of policy.

{Master tap} (Mech.), a tap for forming the thread in a screw cutting die.

{Master touch}. (a) The touch or skill of a master. --Pope. (b) Some part of a performance which exhibits very skillful work or treatment. ``Some master touches of this admirable piece.'' --Tatler.

{Master work}, the most important work accomplished by a skilled person, as in architecture, literature, etc.; also, a work which shows the skill of a master; a masterpiece.

{Master workman}, a man specially skilled in any art, handicraft, or trade, or who is an overseer, foreman, or employer. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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