follow Dictionary.com

Why is the ninth month called September?

past master

noun
1.
a person who is thoroughly experienced or exceptionally skilled in a profession, art, etc.:
a past master at chess.
2.
a person who has held the office of master in a guild, lodge, etc.
Origin
1755-1765
1755-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for past-master

past master

noun
1.
a person with talent for, or experience in, a particular activity a past master of tact
2.
a person who has held the office of master in a Freemasons' lodge, guild, etc
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
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with past-master
A person who is thoroughly experienced or exceptionally skilled in some activity or craft. For example, We're lucky to get Ella, because she's a past master at fundraising. This expression probably alludes to the original literal meaning, that is, one who formerly held the post of master in a lodge or other organization. Although past mistress was used for an exceptionally skilled woman in the mid-1800s, it is heard less often today, master serving for both sexes. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for past master

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for past

6
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with past-master