face mask

noun

plural face masks
1
: a mask or protective covering for the face or part of the face
downhill skiers wearing neoprene face masks and goggles
: such as
a medical
(1)
: a covering (as of polypropylene fiber or cotton fabric) for the mouth and nose that is worn especially to reduce the spread of infectious agents (such as viruses or bacteria)
The Irish actor, 43, stopped by a supermarket to pick up groceries and wore a cloth face mask as protection against COVID-19.Rachel Mcgrath
A range of online retailers and in-store shops are selling face masks. … Opt for surgical masks or cloth masks with at least three layers.Tessa Akerman
Nursing homes in New Hampshire have received face masks with flimsy paper ear loops instead of elastic bands.Andrew Jacobs
(2)
: a device usually covering the mouth and nose to facilitate delivery of a gas (such as a general anesthetic) : mask sense 2b(1)
… the patient was breathing 40% oxygen by face mask.Athe M. N. Tsibris et al.
b
sports : a covering typically attaching to the front of a helmet that consists of a hard, clear material (such as polycarbonate) or a cage of metal (such as steel or a titanium alloy) and is worn to protect the wearer's face from injury
In my hand, I held my silver football helmet with its full cage face mask.John Killen
… jersey numbers define the player in football, where helmets and face masks make it harder to identify a player's face.Bill Pennington
Skates … elbow pads, hockey gloves, hockey stick, athletic supporter or pelvic protector, … and an HECC [Hockey Equipment Certification Council] approved hockey helmet with full face mask are required.Palm Beach (Florida) Post
2
or face mask penalty American football : a penalty imposed on a player for grabbing and pulling an opponent's face mask during play
… the Wolverines' Grant Perry was called for a face mask during a Desmond King punt return, giving Iowa the ball at Michigan's 36-yard line.The Buffalo (New York) News
a 15-yard face mask penalty

Examples of face mask in a Sentence

gas delivered to the patient via face mask
Recent Examples on the Web The other male, who usually wears a face mask, hoodie and baseball cap, typically uses a tool to break the glass at the store’s entrance before rolling through the store with a trash bag to collect the figurines, Leuschner said. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2024 Put on a face mask to obscure your identity, in the event that someone tries to film you. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, 2 June 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen wore a face mask to protect against smoke in the air during a Pirates-Padres game on June 29, 2023, in Pittsburgh. Charles O. Stanier, Discover Magazine, 23 May 2024 Police believe the shooter was wearing a face mask. Elizabeth Pritchett, Fox News, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for face mask 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'face mask.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1754, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of face mask was in 1754

Dictionary Entries Near face mask

Cite this Entry

“Face mask.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/face%20mask. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

face mask

noun
: a mask or protective covering for the face or part of the face: such as
a
: a covering (as of polypropylene fiber or cotton fabric) for the mouth and nose that is worn especially to reduce the spread of infectious agents (such as viruses or bacteria)
Findings demonstrate that, regardless of the type, setting, or who wears the face mask, it serves primarily a dual preventive purpose; protecting oneself from getting viral infection and protecting others. Therefore, if everyone wears a face mask in public, it offers a double barrier against COVID-19 transmission.Mary Abboah-Offei et al., International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances
b
: a device usually covering the mouth and nose to facilitate delivery of a gas (such as general anesthetic) : mask sense 2a
Using a face mask (on the nose and mouth simultaneously) … throughout the induction and maintenance of anesthesia with inhalants is the simplest and least invasive method of anesthesia for short surgery.Omid Aghadavoudi et al., Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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