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[task-mas-ter, tahsk-mah-ster] /ˈtæskˌmæs tər, ˈtɑskˌmɑ stər/
a person whose function it is to assign tasks, especially burdensome ones, to others.
a person who supervises rigorously the work of others.
Origin of taskmaster
1520-30; task + master
Related forms
taskmastership, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for taskmaster
Historical Examples
  • The early keenness is followed by carelessness, and after a while the game becomes somewhat of a taskmaster.

  • There the prisoners are at ease together; They hear not the voice of the taskmaster.

  • He had been awakened by the opening of the dormitory door and by the sound of voices—among them was that of his taskmaster.

    Men of Iron Howard Pyle
  • The taskmaster does not now interfere with him as he was wont to do when he first arrived.

    The Pirate City R.M. Ballantyne
  • No taskmaster can then stand over him and wound his pride with harsh words.

  • But as soon as the taskmaster has departed, even a pretence of work ceases.

    The Seven Curses of London James Greenwood
  • We may look upon Him as a taskmaster, or we may look upon Him as a righteous Father.

    Sermons J. B. Lightfoot
  • But when the sun set she claimed her freedom; and her taskmaster did not dare to say her nay.

    Folle-Farine Ouida
  • The sceptic is the taskmaster who constrains the dogmatic reasoner to develop a sound critique of the understanding and reason.

  • He fled from a taskmaster, not from one who was in any just sense a guardian.

    Try Again Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for taskmaster


a person, discipline, etc, that enforces work, esp hard or continuous work: his teacher is a hard taskmaster
Derived Forms
taskmistress, noun:feminine
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 taskmaster

1520s, from task (n.) + master (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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