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An individual who hires employees or servants to perform services and who directs the manner in which such services are performed.A court officer appointed by a judge to perform such jobs as examining witnesses, taking testimony, computing damages, or taking oaths, affidavits, or acknowledgments of deeds.

A master makes a report of his or her findings to the judge so a decree can be formulated. A master in chancery was an officer in Chancery Court in England. In the U. S. these duties may be rendered by a court clerk, commissioner, auditor, or referee.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) employer, in the area of law known as "master and servant," which more properly should be called employer and employee. 2) a person, supposedly with special expertise, appointed by a judge to investigate a problem (such as whether a parent's home is appropriate for child visitation) and report back to the judge his/her findings and recommendation. (See: master and servant, employment, respondeat superior)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 a nearly obsolete term for an EMPLOYER under a contract of employment in the sense of service rather than for services. The law was treated under the title ‘master and servant’ but is now usually collected under the title ‘employment law’, which includes much to do with trade unions. See EMPLOYMENT, UNFAIR DISMISSAL.
2 an officer of the Supreme Court of Judicature subordinate to a judge.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

MASTER. This word has several meanings. 1. Master is one who has control over a servant or apprentice. A master stands in relation to his apprentices, in loco parentis, and is bound to fulfill that relation, which the law generally enforces. He is also entitled to be obeyed by his apprentices, as if they were his children. Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
     2.-2. Master is one who is employed in teaching children, known generally as a schoolmaster; as to his powers, see Correction.
     3.-3. Master is the name of an officer: as, the ship Benjamin Franklin, whereof A B is master; the master of the rolls; master in chancery, &c.
     4.-4. By master is also understood a principal who employs another to perform some act or do something for him. The law having adopted the maxim of the civil law, qui facit per alium facit per se; the agent is but an instrument, and the master is civilly responsible for the act of his agent, as if it were his own, when he either commands him to do an act, or puts him in a condition, of which such act is a result, or by the absence of due care and control, either previously in the choice of his agent, or immediately in the act itself, negligently suffers him to do an injury. Story, Ag. Sec. 454, note; Noy's Max. c. 44; Salk. 282; 1 East. R. 106; 1 Bos. & Pul. 404; 2 H. Bl. 267; 5 Barn. & Cr. 547; 2 Taunt. R. 314; 4 Taunt. R. 649; Mass. 364, 385; 17 Mass. 479, 509; 1 Pick. 47 5; 4 Watts, 222; 2 Harr. & Gill., 316; 6 Cowen, 189; 8 Pick. 23; 5 Munf. 483. Vide Agent; Agency; Driver; Servant.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In conclusion, Sanjuro, expressing sympathy for townspeople and being a drifting masterless swordsman, was not a stereotypical hero of virtue but in the end destroys all the vicious characters and restores peace in the town.
Left to right: Kubota Sentaro in Armour Wielding a Sword by Felice Beato, circa 1864; a hand-coloured print by Felice Beato titled Kubota Sentaro in Armour with Retainers, taken in Yokohama circa 1864; Portrait of a Masterless Samurai by Shimooka Renjo illustrating the fate of many samurai as the new government stripped them of their status and privileges, leaving them to eke out a vagabond existence as hired swords LSb RMfa the
As in Nelson's pageant, fishing here achieves two important domestic functions: "bountifully" feeding "the people" and setting otherwise masterless men to work in an honest occupation.
Although it is now the age of science and reason, the people of the cove still fear the Masterless Man, who carries off to the barrens any children he can catch.
In Masterless, an architect has a kindred spirit, an 18th-century ronin, who wanders through a parallel netherworld.
Besides the accounts contained in Empress Dugu's and Dugu Tuo's biographies, the only other mention of the cat demon in Sui shu and Bei shi occurs in Emperor Wen's "Basic Annals," which record that, in 598 (the eighteenth year of the Kaihuang reign period), the Emperor issued a decree criminalizing cat demon worship, along with other forms of malevolent magic, including brewing gu poison (gudu), worshipping demons (yanmei), and yedao or masterless venoms (wu zhu zhi gu), on penalty of banishment (ion yu siyi).
Instead, she became a so-called "masterless woman" and supported herself through weaving, teaching, and doing farm work.
This made a strange seizure upon my spirit; it brought light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart of all those tumultuous thoughts that before did use, like masterless hellhounds to roar and bellow and make a hideous noise within me.
His books include The Masterless: Self and Society in Modem America; The Student's Guide to U.S.
But later that day, at nearby Kamakura, the officers were beheaded by two masterless samurai known as ronin.
After writing, in 'A man in Assynt' (1969), that 'the landscape is / masterless / and intractable in any terms / that are human', he affirms: