from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To modify the manner or appearance of (a person, for example) in order to prevent recognition.
  • transitive verb To make indistinct or difficult to perceive.
  • transitive verb To conceal or obscure by dissemblance or false show; misrepresent.
  • noun Clothes or accessories worn to conceal one's true identity.
  • noun Appearance that misrepresents the true character of something.
  • noun A pretense or misrepresentation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That which disguises; something that serves or is intended for concealment of identity, character, or quality; a deceptive covering, condition, manner, etc.
  • noun The act of disguising, or the state of being disguised; a false or misleading appearance; concealment under a disguised form, manner, etc.: as, his attempted disguise was unsuccessful; a thief in disguise.
  • noun Change of behavior and utterance by drink; intoxication.
  • noun A masque; an interlude.
  • To conceal the personal identity of, by changes of guise or usual appearance, such as those produced by differences in dress or in the hair or beard, the use of a mask, etc.
  • To conceal or cover up the real or original character of by a counterfeit form or appearance; cloak by false show, deceptive statement or speech, or an artificial manner: as, to disguise the handwriting; to disguise the taste of a drug; to disguise sentiments or intentions.
  • To alter the appearance of; make difficult of recognition by some change not intended for concealment.
  • To change in voice or behavior by the use of strong drink; intoxicate.
  • To distinguish by a difference of form or guise.
  • Synonyms Simulate, etc. (see dissemble), mask, veil.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To change the guise or appearance of; especially, to conceal by an unusual dress, or one intended to mislead or deceive.
  • transitive verb To hide by a counterfeit appearance; to cloak by a false show; to mask
  • transitive verb To affect or change by liquor; to intoxicate.
  • noun A dress or exterior put on for purposes of concealment or of deception.
  • noun Artificial language or manner assumed for deception; false appearance; counterfeit semblance or show.
  • noun Change of manner by drink; intoxication.
  • noun obsolete A masque or masquerade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An attire (e.g. clothing) used to hide one's identity or assume another.
  • noun figuratively The appearance of something on the outside which masks what's beneath.
  • noun The act of disguising, notably as a ploy
  • verb transitive To change the appearance of (a person or thing) so as to hide, or to assume an identity.
  • verb transitive To prevent giving away or revealing (something secret).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the act of concealing the identity of something by modifying its appearance
  • noun any attire that modifies the appearance in order to conceal the wearer's identity
  • verb make unrecognizable
  • noun an outward semblance that misrepresents the true nature of something


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English disguisen, from Old French desguiser : des-, dis- + guise, manner; see guise.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English disgisen, disguisen, borrowed from Old French desguiser (modern déguiser), itself derived from des- "dis-" (from Latin dis-) + guise "guise" (from a Germanic source).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word disguise.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • See also "guiser".

    November 5, 2007

  • Holmes did this a lot when he was working on cases, and so did Artie.

    September 12, 2012