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Is there a significant difference between "expertise" and "mastery" or in being an "expert" vs being a "master"? Obviously, both words are very close in meaning, as each represents one's extensive experience within a field.

Is there a significant notion that sets these two words apart, or a reason to not use these words interchangeably?

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  • I'm sure there are some domains where one of these will be the preferred term, and the other will not be used. And there may be some domains where there's an important difference between the two titles. – John Feltz Jan 12 '17 at 19:56
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    In my personal opinion, as a native speaker of North American English, I would say that the words are only slightly different. They can be used interchangeably, but expert seems to be the preferred term. One might assume that a master has nothing left to learn about a given topic, whereas an expert has a great deal of experience, but has not yet mastered the skill. – Lumberjack Jan 12 '17 at 20:07
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    I would use the word "expertise" more to refer to "extreme competence" while "mastery" more with "a rarely matched artistry in field". Using both words related to one field: "the attorney had an expertise in constitutional law and a mastery of oral presentation so important for a litigator." ? just my 2 cents. – Tom22 Jan 12 '17 at 22:08
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    fwiw, I'm inclined to associate expertise with knowledge and mastery with skill. A master chef does not necessarily "know" how she does it, she's just really good at it. An expert in say Renaissance painting can tell you all about it, but can't do it. – user175542 Jan 12 '17 at 22:31
  • @mobileink Very succinct. Why not put that into an answer? – WS2 Jan 13 '17 at 0:09