• WordNet 3.6
    • adj masterless having no lord or master "harsh punishments for sturdy vagabonds and masterless men"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Masterless Destitute of a master or owner; ungoverned or ungovernable.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • masterless Not having a master; uncontrolled or unprotected by a master. In England, in early times, a masterless man - that is, one who could not prove either that he was a freeman or that he was under the control of a master - was beyond the pale of the law, and could legally be treated as a vagabond, or consigned to a master, or even put to death. Negroes were subject to similar conditions in the southern United States during the existence of slavery.
    • masterless Free from mastery or ownership; liberated from or not subject to a master; having unrestrained liberty.
    • masterless That cannot be mastered; ungovernable; beyond control.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Masterless without a master or owner: ungoverned: unsubdued: beyond control
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. maistre (Fr. maître)—L. magister, from root of magnus, great.


In literature:

He kissed her hand as respectfully as was consistent with 'masterless passion'; and she said to him, 'I will not dissemble.
"Gryll Grange" by Thomas Love Peacock
This look, which is fairly common among masterless and homeless dogs, is rare among humans; still, once in a while you do find it there too.
"From Place to Place" by Irvin S. Cobb
I was born an unhappy and masterless maiden, and many years I struggled and laboured for a miserable existence.
"Pharaoh's Broker" by Ellsworth Douglass
Amidst all this, Osberne was somewhat more at Longshaw and the borders of the Wood Masterless than in the city.
"The Sundering Flood" by William Morris
In such courtesy, only, let the masterless reader permit it me.
"On the Old Road Vol. 1 (of 2)" by John Ruskin
The Reformation was the period at which the 'masterless man' made his appearance.
"The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3)" by Leslie Stephen
A masterless dog is like a godless man: there is no motivation sufficient for his struggles and achievements.
"Frank of Freedom Hill" by Samuel A. Derieux
The feet masterless, as the spirit had been masterless, years ago.
"The Backwash of War" by Ellen N. La Motte
And yielded towns were set aflame; For all the land was masterless.
"The Earthly Paradise" by William Morris
But is it really, to our Western sense, a misfortune to be a masterless man?
"God and Mr. Wells" by William Archer
The Bridewell soon proved costly and inconvenient to the citizens, by attracting idle, abandoned, and "masterless" people.
"Old and New London" by Walter Thornbury
He was roaming about the garden masterless, sniffing along the gravel paths.
"The Undying Past" by Hermann Sudermann
But for the moment he was masterless, and the boy felt a little lost.
"The Boy With the U. S. Survey" by Francis Rolt-Wheeler
Alas, thou guardian true of Hector's fair Left arm, how art thou masterless!
"The Trojan Women of Euripides" by Euripides
In less than five minutes I was out of the ship, and again in the unenviable position of being masterless.
"The Log of a Sea-Waif" by Frank T. Bullen
Masterless, I should be a very great rogue.
"House of Torment" by Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
They are not only homeless and masterless but have also a sovereign contempt for bed or shelter.
"Natural History in Anecdote" by Various
And as much of yourselves as masterless dogs!
"Starvecrow Farm" by Stanley J. Weyman
Rudderless, masterless, was he also as a man.
"Turner" by William Cosmo Monkhouse
Katerfelto, carrying his rider's saddle, valise, and pistols, galloped across them masterless, into the waste.
"Katerfelto" by G. J. Whyte-Melville

In poetry:

"My hounds may a' rin masterless,
My hawks may fly frae tree to tree;
My lord may grip my vassal lands,
For there again maun I never be."
"Jamie Telfer" by Andrew Lang
O mony a horse ran masterless,
The splintered lances flew on hie;
But or they wan to the Kershope ford,
The Scots had gotten the victory.
"Jamie Telfer" by Andrew Lang
I've seen his shack, low-set and gray,
In the black woods thousands of miles away
Where he lived, from the mad, loud world removed,
Masterless, eager, and greatly loved.
"Private North" by Theodore Goodridge Roberts
Here all the day she swings from tide to tide,
Here all night long she tugs a rusted chain,
A masterless hulk that was a ship of pride,
Yet unashamed: her memories remain.
"The Captain" by John McCrae
I will go out until the day, until the morning break,
Out to the winds 'untainted kiss, the waters' clean caress.
I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket-stake.
I will revisit my lost loves, and playmates masterless!
"Toomai of the Elephants" by Rudyard Kipling
This is the fortune of manhood: the natural peril,
A steeplejack tower, bonerailed and masterless,
No death more natural;
Thus the shadowless man or ox, and the pictured devil,
In seizure of silence commit the dead nuisance.
The natural parallel.
"I, In My Intricate Image" by Dylan Thomas