\ ˈmask How to pronounce mask (audio) \

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 infectious material
e or less commonly masque : 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 \ ˈmask-​ˌlīk How to pronounce masklike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for mask

Synonyms: Noun


Synonyms: Verb

camouflage, cloak, disguise, dress up

Antonyms: Verb


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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

The fans become extensions of arms, or masks for faces, or faux-modest coverage for crotches. Janine Parker,, "An intensely joyful performance from Mark Morris Dance Group at Jacob’s Pillow," 18 July 2019 This includes masks employed in dances that illustrate the conquest and the story of San Simón, or Maximón, a popular folk saint inspired by a blend of Spanish and Maya lore. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Jasmine Little etches the history of art into contemporary ceramics," 18 July 2019 Rettke was arrested for attending the Sept. 28, 2016 protest on ETSU's Johnson City campus while barefoot, dressed in overalls, wearing a gorilla mask and dangling bananas tied with rope. NBC News, "Student arrested for wearing gorilla mask to Black Lives Matter rally cleared of most charges," 17 July 2019 Gaines performed as the mask-wearing Phantom more than 2,000 times — in productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and, of course, on Broadway in New York. Matthew J. Palm,, "Davis Gaines sings one night only in Winter Garden," 17 July 2019 They were bedecked with smocks, boot covers, gloves and masks. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Video: Apollo 11 lunar samples were searched for signs of life," 17 July 2019 Another featured artifacts from African nations, such as drums and masks. Emanuella Grinberg And Darran Simon, CNN, "Slain Baton Rouge activist exuded a 'quiet power' as she enriched her community," 16 July 2019 These days, there are masks designed to moisturize, plump, and/or brighten pretty much every single part of the body. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "I Tried Nair’s New Hair-Removal Masks — Here’s What Happened," 15 July 2019 Total compensation: $8,298,221 Shareholder return: 36 percent ResMed makes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices and masks for people suffering from sleep apnea. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How the 16 highest-paid CEOs of San Diego public companies made their money," 14 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bruce Wayne’s masked alter ego also went up against some iconic supervillains, including one of the greatest of all time — the Joker. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Batman swoops into Comic-Con on its 50th birthday," 19 July 2019 This unassuming persona masks a more complicated reality as president, however. David Stern, Washington Post, "Ukraine’s parliament elections mark first test for its new actor-turned-president," 18 July 2019 But the directors do not mask the sexism of the story. New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Magic Flute,’ Mozart Meets Nosferatu," 18 July 2019 That number, however, masks a large disparity in Americans’ experiences. Los Angeles Times, "Rising health insurance deductibles fuel middle-class anger and resentment," 17 July 2019 The playfulness of such pieces can mask the despair that plagued Smith in his last two decades. J.u-s | West Yorkshire, The Economist, "The industry and poetry of David Smith," 17 July 2019 Opioids, the major drug group used for pain management currently, essentially masks pain, addressing a symptom, not the root cause of the pain. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Study Finds Insects Can Experience Chronic Pain," 17 July 2019 These eye masks harness the nutrients in snail slime along with peptides and 24k gold to give the skin under your eyes a high dose of moisture and boost its resilience. Claudia Fisher,, "8 Anti-Aging Eye Creams on Sale for Prime Day That Are Too Good to Miss," 15 July 2019 According to a memorandum, two masked people, one of them identified as Miceli, entered a Woodbine home in the 6600 block of Woodbine Road on Nov. 1 while a 17-year-old boy was home. Mary Grace Keller,, "Two Carroll County 19-year-olds indicted for alleged robbery, burglary in Woodbine," 10 July 2019

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

21 Jul 2019

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

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a covering used to hide or disguise your face
: a covering used to protect your face or cover your mouth
: a way of appearing or behaving that is not true or real



English Language Learners Definition of mask (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hide (something) from sight
: to keep (something) from being known or noticed


\ ˈmask How to pronounce mask (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mask (audio) \

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 infectious 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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More from Merriam-Webster on mask

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mask

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mask

Spanish Central: Translation of mask

Nglish: Translation of mask for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mask for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mask

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