Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to master: Master Cleanse
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
Jill of all trades(, master of none)
A woman who is skilled in or adept at a wide variety of tasks or abilities (i.e., the female equivalent of "Jack of all trades"). If used with "master of none," it implies that while competent in a variety of things, she is not highly skilled in a particular one. I've had all sorts of different jobs through the years, so I consider myself quite a Jill of all trades! Mary just sort of floated between different interests after she left high school—a Jill of all trades, but master of none.
a Jill of all trades is a master of none
A woman who is somewhat skilled in or adept at a wide variety of tasks or abilities will not have the time or dedication to become truly masterful in any one thing. The female equivalent of the proverb "a Jack of all trades is a master of none." Mary just sort of floated between different interests after she left high school, but never really developed anything career-worthy. A Jill of all trades is a master of none, as they say.
Master of the Universe
1. Literally, the supreme being; God. One must always keep in mind the designs and desires of the Master of the Universe if one wishes to enter into heaven in the afterlife.
2. By extension, an extremely powerful, successful, or wealthy person, especially someone working on Wall Street in the US financial sector. John liked to think of himself as a self-styled Master of the Universe after earning his first million playing the stock market.
jack of all trades, master of none
A person who is able to do many things but does not have a high amount of skill in any one area. A: "My brother can play several instruments, but none very well." B: "You know what they say—jack of all trades, master of none."
serve two masters
To simultaneously tend to or support or devote oneself to two different—often conflicting—responsibilities, pursuits, ideas, or people. It comes from the Biblical phrase, "No man can serve two masters." You need to decide if you are married to your wife or to your work because you simply cannot serve two masters.
be (one's) own master
To not be subject to or controlled by others, especially at work or at home. I have to be my own master, so I couldn't work in a big company like you and have to answer to a boss.
be (one's) own mistress
Of a woman, to not be subject to or controlled by others, especially at work or at home. I have to be my own mistress, so I couldn't work in a big company like you and have to answer to a boss.
(one's) lord and master
Someone who has total power over one. Used to humorously exaggerated effect, usually in reference to one's spouse. I'd like to hang out with you guys, but I need to go into town to pick a few things up for my lord and master.
One who is exceptionally skilled or experienced in a particular activity, craft, or field. Typically followed by "in/of/at (something)." Not to toot my own horn, but I consider myself a bit of a past master in cooking. I don't blame you for feeling that way—Jen is a real past master at eroding your self-confidence. He's always been a past master of getting by with doing as little work as possible.
Fire is a good servant but a bad master.
Prov. You must be careful to use fire wisely and under control so that it will not hurt you. Don't play with the candle flames, children. Fire is a good servant but a bad master. At camp, we learned how to build and extinguish fires safely, since fire is a good servant but a bad master.
jack of all trades is a master of none
Prov. If you are able to do a lot of things fairly well, you will not have time to learn to do one thing extremely well. Jill: I envy Bob; he can do so many things. He writes novels, paints pictures, makes sculptures, and even plays the dulcimer. Jane: It's true he does a lot of things, but he probably doesn't do them all terribly well. A jack of all trades is a master of none, you know.
No man can serve two masters.
Prov. You cannot work for two different people, organizations, or purposes in good faith, because you will end up favoring one over the other. (Biblical.) Al tried going to school and working, both full-time, but soon discovered that he could not serve two masters.
*past master (at something)
Fig. someone proven extremely good or skillful at an activity. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) Mary is a past master at cooking omelets. Pam is a past master at the art of complaining.
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]
serve two mastersFORMAL
If a person or organization tries to serve two masters, they try to be loyal to two opposing principles, beliefs or organizations. An organization such as the BBC can either make a profit or provide an excellent public service. It cannot, however, be asked to serve two masters. Note: This expression is used in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: `No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.' (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)
serve two masterstake orders from two superiors or follow two conflicting or opposing principles or policies at the same time.
This phrase alludes to the warning given in the Bible against trying to serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).