past master

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past 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.
See also: master, past
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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.
See also: master, past
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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]
See also: master, past
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a ˌpast ˈmaster (in/of/at something)

a person who is very good at doing something: He’s a past master at making other people feel guilty.
See also: master, past
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
The leader of Wikileaks is a past master of creating his own reality.
Williams is a past master with similar young guns and can be relied upon to get this one ship-shape for this assignment.
He is a past master of the Cottage Grove Masonic Lodge and a master of the Dorena Grange.
Part-X,a Jack Russell terrier, is already a past master on a surfboard and is now learning to water ski.
Fatal Attraction director Adrian Lyne is a past master at weaving sex and suspense together and he does not fail here as the plot turns from body heat into edge-of-the-seat Hitchcock.
More revealing of the roots of contemporary Brazilian art was the other presentation of a past master at the Drawing Center: the remarkable selection of works on paper ("Objetos graficos" [Graphic objects]) by Mira Schendel, who worked with both subjective gesture and readymade form - drawn line and typography - in dazzling ways.
Can't go for this UNINSPIRED: Daryl Hall DARYL HALL Laughing Down Crying The man behind such 70s and 80s classics as She's Gone and I Can't Go For That with partner John Oates is a past master of AOR dance rock.
Victory saw Past Master, who is out of multiple-winning Western Winter mare Early Thaw, become the 13th Grade 1 winner by Jet Master, best known on the international stage as J J The Jet Plane's sire.
He is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a past master of the McKenzie River Masonic Lodge, and is chairman and secretary for the Eugene Scottish Rite Bodies.
PICTURE: Master of the Lodge Graham Daniel (left) and past master John Bramley present the cheque to Wharfeside Youth Trust chairman Anthony Dearden (right) Picture by Malcolm Howarth.
I THOUGHT I was a past master at throwing a strop whenever Wales was attacked.
Nicholls is a past master at getting horses race fit after a long absence and Soldat, who loves the mud, will have ideal conditions.
DONATION: Lodge master Andrew Robinson and past master John Bramley present the cheque to Wharfeside Youth Trust chairman Anthony Dearden (zy080908Bcheque)
MOONAGE DAYDREAM: The secret of rock longevity lies in re-invention -and the past master of that is David Bowie.
PAST MASTER: `I'm impressed by the set-up in North Wales,' said former South African Test star Eddie Barlow