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

*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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
GRAND GESTURE: Worshipfull Master of Lodge Connaught and Truth - Andrew Robinson - and past master John Bramley present a cheque to the chairman of Wharfeside Youth Trust Anthony Dearden (right) (zy080908cheque)
Part-X,a Jack Russell terrier, is already a past master on a surfboard and is now learning to water ski.
Nicholls is a past master at getting horses race fit after a long absence and Soldat, who loves the mud, will have ideal conditions.
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.
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.
DONATION: Lodge master Andrew Robinson and past master John Bramley present the cheque to Wharfeside Youth Trust chairman Anthony Dearden (zy080908Bcheque)
I THOUGHT I was a past master at throwing a strop whenever Wales was attacked.
I'm very excited,'' said Ted Schuman, a past master.
He is also the damsire of Past Master, successful in the Group 2 Diadem Stakes on the same card.
MOONAGE DAYDREAM: The secret of rock longevity lies in re-invention -and the past master of that is David Bowie.
RICKY TOMLINSON is a past master at the art of the sitcom.
Treachery and deceit are part and parcel of how the Tories do business and IDS is a past master at them.
It was more difficult than I thought, because I had to delve into my old bag of tricks without using any of them,'' says Raimi, a past master of sidewinding camera moves and comically grotesque shock effects.