I've hit a wording problem in the controls for a game that I'm writing.
I need two nouns with increasing emphasis for someone highly skilled in a given area.
"Expert" is an obvious choice, so I need a second noun which is:
- More emphatic than "Expert" - it must imply being extremely capable.
- Not gendered. (This is why I've rejected the most obvious choice, "Master".)
- Obvious in its meaning, once read.
- Not too long - screen space is limited.
- Carrying connotations of skill but not necessarily experience.
- Applicable to many different areas of skill - professional skills (science, accounting) and personal (leadership, martial arts)
It is acceptable to use two words, so there could be a modifying adjective, but in that case space demands that they both be quite short. ("Very skilled" would just work, but "World-famous expert" is out.)
(Edited to make criteria clearer) If it matters, the setting is 60s to 80s Bond-movie-villain's lair.
Some characters are clones grown by a mad scientist and programmed for their tasks, so terms like "veteran" which imply experience as well as skill won't work.
Alternatively, I could use "Expert" in the top slot, to mean extreme skill... in which case I need a replacement word which is less emphatic than Expert, but carries the same connotations and matches the conditions above. It will still need to mean "more than average skill" - the default is "professional competence", and the two terms I use need to describe two increasing levels above this.