Ustād or Usthad or Ustāth from is one of the highest for a master used in Persia, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used in various languages of the Muslim world, including Persian (the etymological origin of the word), Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Pashto, Turkish, and Kurdish languages.
The title precedes the name (in Turkish: succeeds) and was historically usually used for well-regarded and most respected teachers and artists, most often musicians (meaning 'master' or 'maestro'), and is applied and used via informal social agreement. Apprentices refer to their teachers as Ustad for lifetime to show the appreciation of teaching them the art.
Aside from the honorific, the word is generally used by its literal meaning to refer to any teacher, master or expert in Urdu. For example, in more recent Persian idiom and in the Arabic-speaking world, it also refers to a university professor.
In Armenian the word is usually spelled "usta" and has the meaning of expert or master. Although the word is not used in formal language, it is widely used in everyday speech.
The title is also used for qualified Islamic scholars in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. In these countries the title is officially spelt "ustaz", but commonly pronounced "ustad". It is a direct equivalent of terms such as Shaykh in the Arab world, and Mawlānā or Mawlavi in the Indian Subcontinent. In the Maldives, the title is used by people who possess a bachelor's degree or above in the field of law.