\ 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
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

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

Noun Everyone wore costumes and masks to the dance. Doctors wear surgical masks in the operating room. Verb 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 man then did what he was told while two other men wearing masks entered the vehicle, court records said. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "1 adult, 2 teens suspected of kidnapping, shooting man visiting Phoenix for Fiesta Bowl," 2 Jan. 2020 And Ukraine’s key allies in Europe have put on a mask of cool neutrality, voicing support for Zelensky while also seeking deals with Putin. Simon Shuster/kyiv, Time, ""I’m Not Afraid of the Impeachment Questions": How Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Is Navigating His Role in the World's Biggest Political Drama," 5 Dec. 2019 Police said the suspect had on a mask and was wearing all black. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Report: Person stabbed at Chase Bank in Washington Twp.," 17 Nov. 2019 The three suspects were wearing masks and one was armed with a handgun. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Suspects break into Akron home, assault woman, steal computer," 15 Nov. 2019 The police have thus been instructed to wear masks and adopt cover stories, hiding their identity from those who might attempt to target them during downtime. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Watchmen on HBO trades the Cold War for the culture war, keeps superheroes," 21 Oct. 2019 Hong Kong’s leader has said the ban on masks, which have become a hallmark of the protests, is aimed at deterring radical behavior. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hong Kong protesters don cartoon masks to defy face mask ban," 18 Oct. 2019 Another big idea—one borrowed from Moore’s work but even more relevant today given the ubiquity of superhero entertainment— is the psychology of people who put on masks. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "HBO’s “Watchmen” is weird and dangerous, just like it needs to be," 17 Oct. 2019 So the four allegedly devised a plan to confront Silva at his home, wearing masks and brandishing weapons, the affidavit states. Elizabeth Zavala,, "Trial begins for first of 4 accused of San Antonio killing in 2018 over backpack," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Demonstrators have donned body armor and lined their goggles with reflective film to foil police flashlights and mask their identities. Timothy Mclaughlin, Wired, "How Hong Kong’s Protests Turned Into a Mad Max Tableau," 21 Dec. 2019 The weapon is similar to Darth Maul’s, from The Phantom Menace, while the overall scene echoes Luke confronting his fears and envisioning himself in Vader’s mask in The Empire Strikes Back. Oliver Gettell,, "A guide to the Star Wars callbacks and parallels in The Rise of Skywalker," 20 Dec. 2019 Two armed and masked men approached a woman in the common area of the apartment complex at about 7:30 p.m., police said. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa police are seeking two men who abducted a woman at the Synergy Apartments at the Mayfair Collection," 10 Dec. 2019 Companies can also use philanthropic investments to offset, mask or distract from poor corporate behavior. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Why private companies should stop giving money for good causes," 10 Dec. 2019 Anonymised data is sourced from individuals, but all identifiers that can trace the individuals are removed or masked. Sreenidhi Srinivasan, Quartz India, "What is non-personal data and why India is trying to regulate it," 8 Dec. 2019 Two masked men entered the local bank at 9:52 a.m. Oct. 22, 2009 with guns drawn, according to an FBI spokesperson. Carol Cormaci, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada History: Soap suds in shopping center fountain irk owner," 21 Oct. 2019 The two masked men then tied the three woman to their beds. Dave Altimari,, "Attorney for Cheshire home invasion killer Joshua Komisarjevsky argues for new trial before Connecticut Supreme Court," 17 Oct. 2019 Two masked men robbed a BB&T Bank branch in Altamonte Springs at gunpoint on Thursday morning in an incident similar to a Wednesday robbery in Osceola County. Cristóbal Reyes,, "Altamonte Springs police, Osceola County sheriff’s investigating similar bank robberies," 26 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for mask

Time Traveler

The first known use of mask was circa 1533

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Statistics for mask

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mask.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for mask


How to pronounce mask (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mask

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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