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

  • noun A covering worn on the face to conceal one's identity, as.
  • noun A covering, as of cloth, that has openings for the eyes, entirely or partly conceals the face, and is worn especially at a masquerade ball.
  • noun A grotesque or comical representation of a face, worn especially to frighten or amuse, as at Halloween.
  • noun A facial covering worn for ritual.
  • noun A figure of a head worn by actors in Greek and Roman drama to identify a character or trait and to amplify the voice.
  • noun A protective covering for the face or head.
  • noun A gas mask.
  • noun A usually rubber frame forming a watertight seal around the eyes and nose and containing a transparent covering for use in seeing underwater.
  • noun A covering for the nose and mouth that is used for inhaling oxygen or an anesthetic.
  • noun A covering worn over the nose and mouth, as by a surgeon or dentist, to prevent infection.
  • noun A mold of a person's face, often made after death.
  • noun An often grotesque representation of a head and face, used for ornamentation.
  • noun An area of contrasting color on the face and usually across the eyes of an animal.
  • noun The head, face, or muzzle of certain animals, such as a fox or a dog.
  • noun A face having a blank, fixed, or enigmatic expression.
  • noun Something, often a trait, that disguises or conceals.
  • noun A natural or artificial feature of terrain that conceals and protects military forces or installations.
  • noun An opaque border or pattern placed between a source of light and a photosensitive surface to prevent exposure of specified portions of the surface.
  • noun The translucent border framing a television picture tube and screen.
  • noun Computers A pattern of characters, bits, or bytes used to control the elimination or retention of another pattern of characters, bits, or bytes.
  • noun A cosmetic preparation that is applied to the face and allowed to dry before being removed, used especially for cleansing and tightening the skin.
  • noun A person wearing a mask.
  • intransitive verb To cover (the face, for example) with a decorative or protective mask.
  • intransitive verb To cover in order to conceal, protect, or disguise.
  • intransitive verb To make indistinct or difficult to perceive.
  • intransitive verb To conceal by dissembling: synonym: disguise.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To prevent (an atom or a group of atoms) from taking part in a normal reaction.
  • intransitive verb To put on a mask, especially for a masquerade ball.
  • intransitive verb To conceal one's real personality, emotion, or intention.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • An obsolete form of mesh.
  • To steep; infuse.
  • To be infused; yield to the process of infusion: as, the tea is masking.
  • noun In zoology: The skin of the forehead and upper part of the face of any quadruped, taken off at about the level of the eyes.
  • noun In base-ball, a protection for the face worn by the catcher. See cage, 8.
  • To cover the face of, wholly or in part, for concealment, disguise, or defense; conceal with a mask or vizor.
  • To cover with a disguising costume of any kind, as in a masquerade.
  • To disguise; conceal; screen from view by something interposed.
  • Synonyms To cloak, veil, screen, shroud.
  • To play a part in a masquerade; go about in masquerade.
  • To put on a mask; disguise one's self in any way.
  • noun A cover for the face with apertures for seeing and breathing; especially, such a cover, usually of silk or velvet, as worn at masquerades; a false face; a vizor.
  • noun A festive entertainment or performance in which the participants are masked or wear a disguising costume; a body of maskers; a masquerade; a revel.
  • noun A form of histrionic spectacle, much in vogue during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
  • noun Anything used or practised for disguise or concealment; anything interposed as a safeguard against observation, discovery, or disclosure; a screen or disguise; a subterfuge, pretext, or shift: as, a mask of brush in front of a battery; suffering under a mask of gaiety.


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

[French masque, from Italian maschera, from a source akin to Latin masca, evil spirit, specter; see mascot, and probably partly also from Arabic masḫara, laughingstock, masquerade (from saḫira to laugh (at), mock; see šḫr in Semitic roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English maske, from Old English max, *masc (“net”), from Proto-Germanic *maskwōn (“mesh, netting, mask”), from Proto-Indo-European *mozgʷ-, *mezgʷ- (“to knit, tie”). Cognate with Dutch maas ("mesh"), German Masche ("mesh"), Icelandic möskvi ("mesh").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English masken, short for *maskeren, malskren ("to bewilder; be confused, wander"). More at masker.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *mask, masch, from Old English māx, māsc ("mash"). More at mash.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French masque ("a covering to hide or protect the face"), from Italian maschera ("mask, disguise"), from Medieval Latin masca, mascha, mascus ("mask, nightmare, ghost"), of uncertain origin. Replaced Old English grīma ("mask").


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