Definitions

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

  • n. A costume party at which masks are worn; a masked ball. Also called masque.
  • n. A costume for such a party or ball.
  • n. A disguise or false outward show; a pretense: a masquerade of humility.
  • n. An involved scheme; a charade.
  • intransitive v. To wear a mask or disguise, as at a masquerade: She masqueraded as a shepherd.
  • intransitive v. To go about as if in disguise; have or put on a deceptive appearance: The stowaway masqueraded as a crew member.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A party or assembly of people wearing masks, and amusing themselves with dancing, conversation, or other diversions.
  • n. A dramatic performance by actors in masks; a mask. See “mask”
  • n. Acting or living under false pretenses; concealment of something by a false or unreal show; pretentious show; disguise.
  • n. A Spanish diversion on horseback.
  • v. To assemble in masks; to take part in a masquerade.
  • v. To frolic or disport in disguise; to make a pretentious show of being what one is not.
  • v. To conceal with masks; to disguise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An assembly of persons wearing masks, and amusing themselves with dancing, conversation, or other diversions.
  • n. A dramatic performance by actors in masks; a mask. See 1st Mask, 4.
  • n. Acting or living under false pretenses; concealment of something by a false or unreal show; pretentious show; disguise.
  • n. A Spanish diversion on horseback.
  • intransitive v. To assemble in masks; to take part in a masquerade.
  • intransitive v. To frolic or disport in disquise; to make a pretentious show of being what one is not.
  • transitive v. To conceal with masks; to disguise.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An assembly of persons wearing masks and usually other disguises, or rich and fantastic dress: usually, a dancing-party or ball. See mask-ball.
  • n. Disguise effected by wearing a mask or strange apparel; hence, concealment or apparent change of identity by any means; disguise in general.
  • n. The costume of a person who joins in a masquerade; disguising costume of any sort.
  • n. A Spanish diversion on horseback. See the quotation.
  • n. A changeable or shot silk.
  • To wear a mask; take part in a masquerade.
  • To disguise one's self.
  • To cover with a mask or disguise.

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

  • v. take part in a masquerade
  • n. making a false outward show
  • n. a party of guests wearing costumes and masks
  • v. pretend to be someone or something that you are not
  • n. a costume worn as a disguise at a masquerade party

Etymologies

French mascarade, from Italian mascarata, variant of mascherata, from Old Italian maschera, mask; see mask.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French mascarade (Spanish mascarada), from Italian mascarata (mascherata). See “mask”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The masquerade is where fans play instruments and perform skits, dance numbers, and stand-up comedy in costume.

    Ed at Otakon — Saturday and Sunday » Manga Worth Reading

  • His continuing masquerade is certainly evident in his most recent profanity-filled email to one of my SEAL Teammates … and includes the following colorful statement

    Peter Sumaruck

  • The evidence of his shameful masquerade is clear and straightforward.

    Peter Sumaruck

  • Whilst she takes him for a beau in masquerade and is wonderfully pleased.

    The Beau Defeated: or, The Lucky Younger Brother

  • We gathered a hatful of mushrooms, those toothsome "plants in masquerade," which grow in great perfection in this valley.

    Janey Canuck in the West

  • The lightness of heart which had dressed them in masquerade habits, had decorated their tents, and assembled them in fantastic groups, appeared a sin against, and a provocative to, the awful destiny that had laid its palsying hand upon hope and life.

    II.6

  • After a recital of his misfortune had entertained the company, and after the muses had performed their parts to the satisfaction of the audience and their own, the conversation ceased to be supported in masquerade character; muses and harlequins, gipsies and Cleopatras, began to talk of their private affairs, and of the news and the scandal of the day.

    Belinda

  • As you, my dear, always turn pale when the word masquerade is mentioned; so, I warrant, will ABBEVILLE be a word of terror to these wretches, as long as they live.

    The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Volume 4 (of 7)

  • For me, the word masquerade takes me back to the famous masked ball scene in The Phantom of the Opera.

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  • His "Bah" rhetoric at the romance theme is nothing more than a thin masquerade over a most heartfelt and blissful sigh)

    August 2004

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