Where Did the Word “Masterpiece” For a Crowning Achievement Come From and What Does it Mean?

“Masterpiece” suggests great art, but when the word first appeared in German as “meisterstuck”.

It referred to a medieval standard of excellence expected from an apprentice before being allowed to join a guild of master craftsmen.

After many years under the guidance of a master, the apprentice submitted a piece of work for assessment.

If his work or masterpiece passed the test, he would be allowed into the trade as a master craftsman.

And that’s why a crowning achievement is called a Masterpiece.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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