1. [syn: Master of Arts, MA, Artium Magister, AM]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Master \Mas"ter\ (m[.a]s"t[~e]r), n. [OE. maistre, maister, OF.
maistre, mestre, F. ma[^i]tre, fr. L. magister, orig. a
double comparative from the root of magnus great, akin to Gr.
me`gas. Cf. Maestro, Magister, Magistrate, Magnitude,
Major, Mister, Mistress, Mickle.]
1. A male person having another living being so far subject
to his will, that he can, in the main, control his or its
actions; -- formerly used with much more extensive
application than now.
(a) The employer of a servant.
(b) The owner of a slave.
(c) The person to whom an apprentice is articled.
(d) A sovereign, prince, or feudal noble; a chief, or one
exercising similar authority.
(e) The head of a household.
(f) The male head of a school or college.
(g) A male teacher.
(h) The director of a number of persons performing a
ceremony or sharing a feast.
(i) The owner of a docile brute, -- especially a dog or
(j) The controller of a familiar spirit or other
2. One who uses, or controls at will, anything inanimate; as,
to be master of one's time. --Shak.
Master of a hundred thousand drachms. --Addison.
We are masters of the sea. --Jowett
3. One who has attained great skill in the use or application
of anything; as, a master of oratorical art.
Great masters of ridicule. --Macaulay.
No care is taken to improve young men in their own
language, that they may thoroughly understand and be
masters of it. --Locke.
4. A title given by courtesy, now commonly pronounced
m[i^]ster, except when given to boys; -- sometimes written
Mister, but usually abbreviated to Mr.
5. A young gentleman; a lad, or small boy.
Where there are little masters and misses in a
house, they are impediments to the diversions of the
6. (Naut.) The commander of a merchant vessel; -- usually
called captain. Also, a commissioned officer in the navy
ranking next above ensign and below lieutenant; formerly,
an officer on a man-of-war who had immediate charge, under
the commander, of sailing the vessel.
7. A person holding an office of authority among the
Freemasons, esp. the presiding officer; also, a person
holding a similar office in other civic societies.
Little masters, certain German engravers of the 16th
century, so called from the extreme smallness of their
Master in chancery, an officer of courts of equity, who
acts as an assistant to the chancellor or judge, by
inquiring into various matters referred to him, and
reporting thereon to the court.
Master of arts, one who takes the second degree at a
university; also, the degree or title itself, indicated by
the abbreviation M. A., or A. M.
Master of the horse, the third great officer in the British
court, having the management of the royal stables, etc. In
ceremonial cavalcades he rides next to the sovereign.
Master of the rolls, in England, an officer who has charge
of the rolls and patents that pass the great seal, and of
the records of the chancery, and acts as assistant judge
of the court. --Bouvier. --Wharton.
(a) one who has held the office of master in a lodge of
Freemasons or in a society similarly organized.
(b) a person who is unusually expert, skilled, or
experienced in some art, technique, or profession; --
usually used with at or of.
The old masters, distinguished painters who preceded modern
painters; especially, the celebrated painters of the 16th
and 17th centuries.
To be master of one's self, to have entire self-control;
not to be governed by passion.
To be one's own master, to be at liberty to act as one
chooses without dictation from anybody.
Note: Master, signifying chief, principal, masterly,
superior, thoroughly skilled, etc., is often used
adjectively or in compounds; as, master builder or
master-builder, master chord or master-chord, master
mason or master-mason, master workman or
master-workman, master mechanic, master mind, master
spirit, master passion, etc.
Throughout the city by the master gate.
Master joint (Geol.), a quarryman's term for the more
prominent and extended joints traversing a rock mass.
Master key, a key adapted to open several locks differing
somewhat from each other; figuratively, a rule or
principle of general application in solving difficulties.
Master lode (Mining), the principal vein of ore.
Master mariner, an experienced and skilled seaman who is
certified to be competent to command a merchant vessel.
Master sinew (Far.), a large sinew that surrounds the hough
of a horse, and divides it from the bone by a hollow
place, where the windgalls are usually seated.
Master singer. See Mastersinger.
Master stroke, a capital performance; a masterly
achievement; a consummate action; as, a master stroke of
Master tap (Mech.), a tap for forming the thread in a screw
(a) The touch or skill of a master. --Pope.
(b) Some part of a performance which exhibits very
skillful work or treatment. "Some master touches of
this admirable piece." --Tatler.
Master work, the most important work accomplished by a
skilled person, as in architecture, literature, etc.;
also, a work which shows the skill of a master; a
Master workman, a man specially skilled in any art,
handicraft, or trade, or who is an overseer, foreman, or
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Degree \De*gree"\, n. [F. degr['e], OF. degret, fr. LL.
degradare. See Degrade.]
1. A step, stair, or staircase. [Obs.]
By ladders, or else by degree. --Rom. of R.
2. One of a series of progressive steps upward or downward,
in quality, rank, acquirement, and the like; a stage in
progression; grade; gradation; as, degrees of vice and
virtue; to advance by slow degrees; degree of comparison.
3. The point or step of progression to which a person has
arrived; rank or station in life; position. "A dame of
high degree." --Dryden. "A knight is your degree." --Shak.
"Lord or lady of high degree." --Lowell.
4. Measure of advancement; quality; extent; as, tastes differ
in kind as well as in degree.
The degree of excellence which proclaims genius, is
different in different times and different places.
5. Grade or rank to which scholars are admitted by a college
or university, in recognition of their attainments; also,
(informal) the diploma provided by an educational
institution attesting to the achievement of that rank; as,
the degree of bachelor of arts, master, doctor, etc.; to
hang one's degrees on the office wall.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Note: In the United States diplomas are usually given as the
evidence of a degree conferred. In the humanities the
first degree is that of bachelor of arts (B. A. or A.
B.); the second that of master of arts (M. A. or A.
M.). The degree of bachelor (of arts, science,
divinity, law, etc.) is conferred upon those who
complete a prescribed course of undergraduate study.
The first degree in medicine is that of doctor of
medicine (M. D.). The degrees of master and doctor are
also conferred, in course, upon those who have
completed certain prescribed postgraduate studies, as
doctor of philosophy (Ph. D.); the degree of doctor
is also conferred as a complimentary recognition of
eminent services in science or letters, or for public
services or distinction (as doctor of laws (LL. D.)
or doctor of divinity (D. D.), when they are called
The youth attained his bachelor's degree, and
left the university. --Macaulay.
6. (Genealogy) A certain distance or remove in the line of
descent, determining the proximity of blood; one remove in
the chain of relationship; as, a relation in the third or
In the 11th century an opinion began to gain ground
in Italy, that third cousins might marry, being in
the seventh degree according to the civil law.
7. (Arith.) Three figures taken together in numeration; thus,
140 is one degree, 222,140 two degrees.
8. (Algebra) State as indicated by sum of exponents; more
particularly, the degree of a term is indicated by the sum
of the exponents of its literal factors; thus, a^2b^3c
is a term of the sixth degree. The degree of a power, or
radical, is denoted by its index, that of an equation by
the greatest sum of the exponents of the unknown
quantities in any term; thus, ax^4 + bx^2 = c, and
mx^2y^2 + nyx = p, are both equations of the fourth
9. (Trig.) A 360th part of the circumference of a circle,
which part is taken as the principal unit of measure for
arcs and angles. The degree is divided into 60 minutes and
the minute into 60 seconds.
10. A division, space, or interval, marked on a mathematical
or other instrument, as on a thermometer.
11. (Mus.) A line or space of the staff.
Note: The short lines and their spaces are added degrees.
Accumulation of degrees. (Eng. Univ.) See under
By degrees, step by step; by little and little; by moderate
advances. "I'll leave it by degrees." --Shak.
Degree of a curve or Degree of a surface (Geom.), the
number which expresses the degree of the equation of the
curve or surface in rectilinear coordinates. A straight
line will, in general, meet the curve or surface in a
number of points equal to the degree of the curve or
surface and no more.
Degree of latitude (Geog.), on the earth, the distance on a
meridian between two parallels of latitude whose latitudes
differ from each other by one degree. This distance is not
the same on different parts of a meridian, on account of
the flattened figure of the earth, being 68.702 statute
miles at the equator, and 69.396 at the poles.
Degree of longitude, the distance on a parallel of latitude
between two meridians that make an angle of one degree
with each other at the poles -- a distance which varies as
the cosine of the latitude, being at the equator 69.16
To a degree, to an extreme; exceedingly; as, mendacious to
It has been said that Scotsmen . . . are . . . grave
to a degree on occasions when races more favored by
nature are gladsome to excess. --Prof.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
Master of Arts
n 1: a master's degree in arts and sciences [syn: Master of
Arts, MA, Artium Magister, AM]