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[mas-ter-mahynd, mah-ster-] /ˈmæs tərˌmaɪnd, ˈmɑ stər-/
verb (used with object)
to plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully:
Two colonels had masterminded the revolt.
a person who originates or is primarily responsible for the execution of a particular idea, project, or the like:
the masterminds of company policy.
Origin of mastermind
1710-20; master + mind Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mastermind
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Or, in contact with a mastermind, he may take fire, and the glow of the enthusiasm may be the inspiration of his life.

    Modern Essays John Macy
  • As for Salem, it looks as though a mastermind had been at work, I see it in everything.

    No Defense, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • He said to Professor Garet, "All right, mastermind, untie me."

  • Ravick seemed to have gotten the idea that Joe Kivelson was the mastermind of the hunters' cabal against him.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • A banquet extraordinary was shortly to take place, and M. Sapin, the mastermind, came to beg of Regali the recipe for his ragout.

British Dictionary definitions for mastermind


(transitive) to plan and direct (a complex undertaking): he masterminded the robbery
a person of great intelligence or executive talent, esp one who directs an undertaking
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 mastermind

1720, "an outstanding intellect," from master (n.) + mind (n.). Meaning "head of a criminal enterprise" is first attested 1872. As a verb from 1940. Related: Masterminded; masterminding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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