Definitions

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

  • n. A visor or mask.
  • n. A disguise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mask worn to disguise or protect the face.
  • n. A pretense

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mask; a visor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vizard-mask; a vizor.
  • n. One who wears a vizard-mask.
  • n. An obsolete form of vizor.

Etymologies

Alteration of obsolete vizar, from Middle English viser; see visor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
An alteration of visor by confusion of the ending. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A vizard is a contrivance for concealment, whether in silk and pasteboard or in an inflexible visage -- whether in a woman who wants to disguise her features, or in a man who wants to hide his heart -- whether in a masquerader or an assassin.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844

  • I marvel to see how men can be cajoled and call the vizard virtue.

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • He cursed his advisers, and resumed his grotesque vizard, but, it is said, without ever being able to regain the careless and successful levity which the consciousness of the disguise had formerly bestowed.

    Chronicles of the Canongate

  • It is not easy to trace how he became possessed of his black vizard, which was anciently made in the resemblance of the face of a cat; but it seems that the mask was essential to the performance of the character, as will appear from the following theatrical anecdote: —

    Chronicles of the Canongate

  • Some critics, whose good-will towards a favourite performer was stronger than their judgment, took occasion to remonstrate with the successful actor on the subject of the grotesque vizard.

    Chronicles of the Canongate

  • I defy the Old Enemy to unmask me when I choose to keep my vizard on.

    The Abbot

  • “I am afraid, sir,” said the young lady, and her smile was scarce concealed by her vizard, “I shall have little use for such careful preparation.”

    The Bride of Lammermoor

  • Her head was covered with a montero cap, and, as was frequently the custom at the period, she wore on her face a kind of black silk vizard, which effectually concealed her features.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • It would seem she had sustained importunity on the subject, for when she saw the Doctor, she put her hand to her face, as if she was afraid he would insist on pulling off the vizard.

    The Surgeon's Daughter

  • “Mask” and “Mascarade,” for persona, larva or vizard, also derive, I have noticed, from an Arabic word — Maskharah.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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