\ˈmask \

Definition of mask 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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

2a : 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)

3a : 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

4a : the head or face of an animal (such as a fox or dog)

b : an area (such as the one around the eyes) of an animal's face that is distinguished by usually darker coloring


masked; masking; masks

Definition of mask (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to take part in a masquerade

2a : to assume a mask

b : to disguise one's true character or intentions

transitive verb

1 : to provide or conceal with a mask: such 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

2 : to cover for protection

3 : to modify the size or shape of (something, such as a photograph) by means of an opaque border

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Other Words from mask


masklike \-ˌlīk \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for mask


disguise, cloak, mask mean to alter the dress or appearance of so as to conceal the identity or true nature. disguise implies a change in appearance or behavior that misleads by presenting a different apparent identity. disguised herself as a peasant cloak suggests a means of hiding a movement or an intention. cloaked their maneuvers in secrecy mask suggests some often obvious means of hiding or disguising something. smiling to mask his discontent

Examples of mask in a Sentence


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


The house was masked by trees. They tried to mask their real purpose. She tried using perfume to mask the bad odor.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This famous painter, an accomplished artist by any measure, was like me: wearing a smile as a mask and struggling to persevere. Julia Lyon, Washington Post, "People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.," 13 July 2018 Their bodies are covered with soft, white feathers; colored skin on their heads forms a black mask and red cap., "Birth of 5 chicks signals comeback for Louisiana’s whooping crane," 13 July 2018 Cordon said she was attacked by a short, black man wearing a mask and all black clothing and implicated McCoy, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, in the attack. CBS News, "LeSean McCoy's ex-girlfriend suspected NFL star was involved in her attack, 911 call reveals," 13 July 2018 Young visitors can test water quality and trawl for plankton with the Billion Oyster Project, learn angling with I Fish NY, make sea creature masks and other crafts, and enjoy live music and theater. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "9 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 Steve Wilson had watched his three buddies each put on a wetsuit top, a mask and flippers and then disappear into the water inside a cave in rural Arkansas. Lindsey Bever, ajc, "The dramatic and tragic rescue of explorers trapped in a cave — 53 years ago in America," 10 July 2018 The pause will give divers time to prepare gear, including masks and refilling air tanks, for the next round of rescue efforts. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "4 Boys Freed From Thailand Cave as Rescue Mission Begins," 8 July 2018 Narongsak said the boys were still healthy and have practiced wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for the diving possibility. Fox News, "Thai coach apologizes to parents as boys write they're OK," 7 July 2018 But less than two weeks later, the sheriff's office said, Jennings was arrested again when he was allegedly caught on video June 25 at someone's home in Butler with a crow bar, a mask and an identifiable tattoo on his forearm. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Meth lab found in Bates County garage, sheriff’s office says. Four arrested," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But these data suggest that the broad gauges of home prices, which have climbed steeply for years, are masking some wobbliness at the top. Fortune, "Warren Buffett's Beach House Is Among Luxury Real Estate Sitting on the Market," 5 July 2018 Pete got Ariana's iconic Dangerous Woman bunny mask inked behind his ear and her initials tattooed on his thumb. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Ariana Grande Just Wore a Sweatshirt with Pete Davidson's Face on It," 30 June 2018 Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs., "Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano Suspended 80 Games for Drug Violation," 16 May 2018 The size of these plants at maturity is matched to that of the disk to mask it slightly for mystery, or to expose it just so. Maureen Gilmer, idahostatesman, "Standing disks add circle-of-life element to your garden | Idaho Statesman," 14 Mar. 2018 Some people are just able to mask it better than others. Andrea Stanley, Seventeen, "4 Mental Health Myths That Are Seriously Dangerous," 30 Jan. 2018 The Travel 8-Step Regime from Oh K! is super convenient for overnighters, with one dose of body wash, shampoo, cleansing oil, facial foam, toning serum, lotion, moisturizer and a gold jelly mask in a slim set of detachable packets. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Packing the ultimate weekender: Our favorite products for your carry-on or beach bag," 9 July 2018 Mask on, mask off, Arya will always chase a hit job. Meagan Fredette,, "Is Arya Stark The Last Woman Standing On Game Of Thrones?," 7 July 2018 Williams bought a black neoprene mask with cash before both men left, the Sheriff’s Office said. Brett Clarkson,, "XXXTentacion murder suspect was previously held in gun and drug cases," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mask.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mask


circa 1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1579, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for mask


Middle French masque, from Old Italian maschera

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Dictionary Entries near mask






mask crab


Statistics for mask

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mask

The first known use of mask was circa 1533

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More Definitions for mask



English Language Learners Definition of mask

: to hide (something) from sight

: to keep (something) from being known or noticed


\ˈmask \

Kids Definition of mask

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cover for the face or part of the face used for disguise or protection a Halloween mask a catcher's mask

2 : something that disguises or conceals She visited under a mask of friendship.


masked; masking

Kids Definition of mask (Entry 2 of 2)

: conceal, disguise She found it difficult to mask her anger.


\ˈmask \

Medical Definition of mask 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a protective covering for the face

2a : any of various devices that cover the mouth and nose and are used to prevent inhalation of dangerous substances, to facilitate delivery of a gas (as oxygen or a general anesthetic), or to prevent the dispersal of exhaled infective material — see gas mask, oxygen mask

3 : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

Medical Definition of mask (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to prevent (an atom or group of atoms) from showing its ordinary reactions to mask hydroxyl in a sugar by converting it into methoxyl

2 : to modify or reduce the effect or activity of (as a process or a reaction)

3 : to make indistinct or imperceptible flavorings used in pharmacy to mask the taste of medications

4 : to raise the audibility threshold of (a sound) by the simultaneous presentation of another sound

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Comments on mask

What made you want to look up mask? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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