noun \ˈmask\

Definition of MASK

a (1) :  a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise (2) :  a person wearing a mask :  masker
b (1) :  a figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice
(2) :  a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals
c :  an often grotesque carved head or face used as an ornament (as on a keystone)
d :  a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold
a :  something that serves to conceal or disguise :  pretense, cloak <aware of the masks, facades and defenses people erect to protect themselves — Kenneth Keniston>
b :  something that conceals from view
c :  a translucent or opaque screen to cover part of the sensitive surface in taking or printing a photograph
d :  a pattern of opaque material used to shield selected areas of a surface (as of a semiconductor) in deposition or etching (as in producing an integrated circuit)
a :  a protective covering for the face
b :  gas mask
c :  a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
d :  a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
e :  a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries
a :  the head or face of an animal (as a fox or dog)
b :  an area (as the one around the eyes) of an animal's face that is distinguished by usually darker coloring

Examples of MASK

  1. Everyone wore costumes and masks to the dance.
  2. Doctors wear surgical masks in the operating room.

Origin of MASK

Middle French masque, from Old Italian maschera
First Known Use: 1534

Related to MASK

Rhymes with MASK



: to hide (something) from sight

: to keep (something) from being known or noticed

Full Definition of MASK

intransitive verb
:  to take part in a masquerade
a :  to assume a mask
b :  to disguise one's true character or intentions
transitive verb
:  to provide or conceal with a mask: as
a :  to conceal from view <mask a gun battery>
b :  to make indistinct or imperceptible <masks undesirable flavors>
c :  to cover up <masked his real purpose>
:  to cover for protection
:  to modify the size or shape of (as a photograph) by means of an opaque border
mask·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of MASK

  1. The house was masked by trees.
  2. They tried to mask their real purpose.
  3. She tried using perfume to mask the bad odor.

First Known Use of MASK

circa 1562


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Object worn either to disguise or protect the face or to project the image of another personality or being. Masks have been used in art and religion since the Stone Age. In most primitive societies, their form is dictated by tradition, and they are thought to have supernatural power. Death masks, associated with the return of the spirit to the body, were used in ancient Egypt, Asia, and the Inca civilization, and were sometimes kept as portraits of the dead. Masks worn on holidays such as Halloween and Mardi Gras signal festivity and license. They have also been widely used in the theater, beginning with the Greek drama and continuing through medieval mystery plays, and the Italian commedia dell'arte, as well as in other theater traditions (e.g., Japanese No drama).


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