Mastery refers to having great skill at something or total dominance over something. If you are fluent in French, you have a mastery of the language. If you win every game of chess, you show a mastery of the game.

Mastery is from master, who is someone knowledgeable about a subject, like a master painter. Masters are also people with power — butlers sometimes call their employer master. Mastery refers to a similar power or ability. Beethoven showed mastery in composing. Shakespeare displayed mastery in writing. Apple has had mastery over the field of computers and smartphones. Often, both senses are mixed: if someone has mastery over a field skill-wise, they probably have mastery in terms of dominance too.

Definitions of mastery

n great skillfulness and knowledge of some subject or activity

command, control
Type of:
the state of being cognitively skillful

n the act of mastering or subordinating someone

Type of:
social control by dominating

n power to dominate or defeat

mastery of the seas”
domination, supremacy
superiority, transcendence, transcendency
the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits
Type of:
ascendance, ascendancy, ascendence, ascendency, control, dominance
the state that exists when one person or group has power over another

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