\ 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 types of masks available to Delhi residents vary from simple and essential to colourful and fancy. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "In photos: Anti-pollution masks are now an essential accessory in Delhi," 15 Nov. 2019 The design features a flared top that resembles the ears of Batman’s mask. Ryan Ori,, "Developers to unveil retooled plan for Chicago’s second-tallest skyscraper, set to rise behind Tribune Tower," 13 Nov. 2019 And the diva is seen not as pretentious, pompous or ridiculous, but simply as another kind of actress, wearing a different kind of mask. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "Yes, Toulouse-Lautrec was an alcoholic cabaret creature. But his art ranged far beyond the demimonde.," 12 Nov. 2019 Miri’s features neutralize into a kind of mask, and her sudden deanimation feels heartbreaking. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Joyful Redemption of Back to Life," 10 Nov. 2019 Fresh citrus can be allergenic, so patch test this mask before smearing it all over your face. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, "Natural DIY Face Masks for Every Skin Type and Concern," 7 Nov. 2019 Schools were closed for five days and authorities handed out millions of free masks to children as the deteriorating air quality reached a three-year high. Fox News, "New Delhi toxic smog prevents planes from landing, shuts down schools," 5 Nov. 2019 Best known for her role in Disney's The Cheetah Girls, there are so many reasons to believe that Adrienne is, in fact, the woman behind this mask. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "Who Is the Flamingo on The Masked Singer? There's One Theory We're Loving," 3 Oct. 2019 This hair mask is suited for very dry hair, especially hair that has been damaged by a long, hot summer. Los Angeles Times, "CBD bath salts and 4 beauty products you shouldn’t live without this season," 27 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The home’s occupant, who police did not identify, retrieved an airsoft pistol, then the masked individual with the handgun fired multiple rounds into the residence before he, Frazier and the other masked individual fled the scene, Andersen said. S. Wayne Carter Jr.,, "Edgewood man charged with attempted murder, 2 others at-large after shooting incident in Joppa," 5 Dec. 2019 And while McDermott rightfully deserves a lot of the credit, so does offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who has done a great job of masking Allen’s deficiencies and minimizing turnovers (just 13 in 12 games)., "Garrett isn’t the only coach with a lot to prove over the final month of the season. Now that the calendar has flipped to December, several jobs across the league are on the line.," 1 Dec. 2019 Menthol is a substance found in mint plants that creates a cooling sensation and masks tobacco flavor in both e-cigarettes and cigarettes., "Flavor bans multiply, but menthol continues to divide," 20 Nov. 2019 Earlier this week, masked students on the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus built barricades and threw Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, The New York Times reported. Theo Wayt, NBC News, "U.S. universities suspend Hong Kong study programs amid deadly protests," 16 Nov. 2019 But the area is testament to how the overall economic data of a single census tract can mask pockets of extreme wealth. Justin Elliott,, "Huizenga Jr. received Trump tax break, meant for poor, for his West Palm Beach superyacht marina," 14 Nov. 2019 The Leafs have averaged 4.0 goals per game of support for him, which puts him in the same boat as Holtby in terms of masking some shortcomings. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Capitals-Maple Leafs odds: Washington an intriguing underdog on the road," 29 Oct. 2019 The effect size was small, however, and masked a lot of individual variation. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "Social Media Has Not Destroyed a Generation," 23 Oct. 2019 The city is desire and the demons beneath, a metropolis where virtue is transactional and shifting façades, like so many Hollywood sets, mask cruelty and indifference. Los Angeles Times, "Why L.A. is the perpetual dark heart of crime writing," 17 Oct. 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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mask.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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

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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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