I often hear it in football commentary when a player(Lionel Messi) scores and the commentator(Ray Hudson) yells "Magisterial, Leo". And I saw a video on Youtube titled "Lionel Messi Magisterial Skills". I can't figure out the exact meaning of the word in these contexts.

Looking into dictionaries magisterial has the following paraphrases: 1. showing impressive knowledge about a subject 2. having the characteristics of a master or teacher 3. having or showing great authority 4. domineering, dictatorial 5. authoritative 6. relating to magistrate

I think the second paraphrase fits best in those contexts, expressing that the skills of the player is master class, am I right?


Yes, it refers to the qualities typical of a master of teacher of a specific “discipline”, in this case the skills refer to the high abilities of a world-class football player:


1630s, "of or befitting to a master or teacher or one qualified to speak with authority," from Medieval Latin magisterialis "of or pertaining to the office of magistrate, director, or teacher," from Late Latin magisterius "having authority of a magistrate," from magister "chief, director.


Usage examples:

De Kooning's magisterial ability to integrate drawing and painting and abstraction and figuration is unsurpassed in twentieth-century art. He and Jackson Pollock are recognized as Abstract Expressionism's most influential artists. From Willem de Kooning By Carolyn Lanchner

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The commentator in question is using the word wrong, magisterial can only be used to describe someone with the knowledge and authority of a teacher or magistrate, not sporting prowess. It's my view that he believes the word to mean the same as a superlative version of 'majestic' and he is unaware that the word relates to the authority of magistrates.

The associated YouTube video titles are only using the word because they have heard it used so many times by Ray Hudson as he uses it 5 times per game, they perhaps are unaware of its true meaning.

Please don't learn English from Ray Hudson.

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  • 1
    I think you will want to check usage for "magisterial".. – J. Taylor Aug 26 '19 at 0:52

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