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masterpiece

[mas-ter-pees, mah-ster-] /ˈmæs tərˌpis, ˈmɑ stər-/
noun
1.
a person's greatest piece of work, as in an art.
2.
anything done with masterly skill:
a masterpiece of improvisation.
3.
a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind:
The chef's cake was a masterpiece.
4.
a piece made by a person aspiring to the rank of master in a guild or other craft organization as a proof of competence.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; master + piece, modeled on Dutch meesterstuk, German Meisterstück
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for masterpiece
  • Do not believe in the myth of the romantic artist, who produces a masterpiece minutes before a deadline.
  • It's something of a masterpiece of exposition in laying out the entire argument.
  • Yet modern readers barely have time to read their e-mail, let alone tackle a million word masterpiece.
  • Vincent didn't live to know that in his reaching for the stars, he had created a masterpiece.
  • And a little accent can sometimes lift something that's harmonious but dull to the level of a masterpiece.
  • The director's masterpiece plays to near-empty theaters, ultimately retreating to the art-house circuit as a cult oddity.
  • It is a masterpiece of its genre and deserves to be much better known.
  • In those early moments of interest and empathy, the masterpiece is born.
  • The result was a prose masterpiece, though one which modern scholars prefer to call an adaptation rather than a translation.
  • He visits his masterpiece of plumbing every couple of months and occasionally checks in there on foursquare.
British Dictionary definitions for masterpiece

masterpiece

/ˈmɑːstəˌpiːs/
noun
1.
an outstanding work, achievement, or performance
2.
the most outstanding piece of work of a creative artist, craftsman, etc
Word Origin
C17: compare Dutch meesterstuk, German Meisterstück, a sample of work submitted to a guild by a craftsman in order to qualify for the rank of master
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for masterpiece
n.

c.1600, from master (n.) + piece (n.). A loan-translation of Dutch meesterstuk "work by which a craftsman attains the rank of master" (or its German cognate Meisterstück).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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