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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Mas·ter n.
 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 horse. (j) The controller of a familiar spirit or other supernatural being.
 2. One who uses, or controls at will, anything inanimate; as, to be master of one's time.
    Master of a hundred thousand drachms.   --Addison.
    We are masters of the sea.   --Jowett (Thucyd.).
 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 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 servants.   --Swift.
 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 prints.
 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.
 Past master, (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.   --Chaucer.
 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 policy.
 Master tap Mech., a tap for forming the thread in a screw cutting die.
 Master touch. (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 masterpiece.
 Master workman, a man specially skilled in any art, handicraft, or trade, or who is an overseer, foreman, or employer.

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 De·gree n.
 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.”
 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.   --Sir. J. Reynolds.
 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.
 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 honorary degrees.
    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 fourth degree.
    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.   --Hallam.
 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, a²b³c 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, ax⁴ + bx² = c, and mx²y² + nyx = p, are both equations of the fourth degree.
 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 Accumulation.
 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 statute miles.
 To a degree, to an extreme; exceedingly; as, mendacious to a degree.
    It has been said that Scotsmen . . . are . . . grave to a degree on occasions when races more favored by nature are gladsome to excess.   --Prof. Wilson.

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

 Master of Arts
      n : a master's degree in arts and sciences [syn: MA, Artium
          Magister, AM]