9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mas-ter-pees, mah-ster-] /ˈmæs tərˌpis, ˈmɑ stər-/
a person's greatest piece of work, as in an art.
anything done with masterly skill:
a masterpiece of improvisation.
a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind:
The chef's cake was a masterpiece.
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 of masterpiece
1570-80; master + piece, modeled on Dutch meesterstuk, German Meisterstück Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


an outstanding work, achievement, or performance
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

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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