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I'm looking for a single-word adjective that means either "the best at what you do" or "the most experienced at what you do." If forced to pick one of those two perspectives, I would choose the former. I will be using it in the following list:

  • Cadet
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Veteran
  • This is the word I'm looking for

Example sentence: John is a ______ mechanic.

The word does not require a military context, despite my above list having a military feel to it.

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"a master" mechanic or "the consummate" mechanic would fit

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primo, TFD perhaps an elaboration of prime.

slang: exceptionally good of its kind; first-class, highly or most valuable.

As in:

John is a primo mechanic.

and Vocabulary.com

She completed her chief residency and surgical retina fellowship at one her field’s primo facilities there. Washington Post Sep 9, 2018

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Generally used for artists, a good candidate is:

Virtuoso.

I'm recommending this word because I feel that when people get really good at something, they do that thing as an art - as if playing with/in it.


Meaning:

  • a person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit.

Example usage: a celebrated clarinet virtuoso | [as modifier]: virtuoso guitar playin.


I looked up the exact meaning in Apple's dictionary. Feel free to look it up anywhere else for more details.

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The French 'sans pareil' (without a match, better than any other) also exists in English in the form of 'nonpareil' used after the noun, pronounced 'non per rail', more or less. It is a literary term says the Cambridge Dictionary Online. Their example sentence is

He was a teacher nonpareil.

Your sentence, then

He was a mechanic nonpareil.

  • That makes sense, the more common English term, which had completely slipped my mind until your answer, is unparalleled. – JBH Dec 6 '18 at 1:08

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