masterpiece

[mas-ter-pees, mah-ster-]
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:
1570–80; 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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World English Dictionary
masterpiece or (less commonly) masterwork (ˈmɑːstəˌpiːs, ˈmɑːstəˌwɜːk)
 
n
1.  an outstanding work, achievement, or performance
2.  the most outstanding piece of work of a creative artist, craftsman, etc
 
[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]
 
masterwork or (less commonly) masterwork
 
n
 
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

masterpiece
c.1600, from master + piece. A translation of Du. meesterstuk "work by which a craftsman attains the rank of master" (cf. Ger. Meisterstück).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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