\ 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 anonymous artist answers the door with his mask off. Ryan Kost,, "SF artist BiP speaks out on police brutality with Hayes Valley mural," 15 Nov. 2019 So get your masks, your fake blood and your witch hats and get ready to pick up these deadly deals. Trevor Fraser,, "Halloween freebies and deals: Plenty of treats around Orlando," 30 Oct. 2019 After making an Imperial entrance to the patio and finding a table, the Otts took off their masks. Cody Boteler,, "‘A sucker for animals': With dogs in costume, Towson restaurant raises funds for adoptions," 28 Oct. 2019 His mask still serves as a symbol for grandson Kylo Ren. Sheraz Farooqi, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why Anakin Should Return for 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'," 23 Oct. 2019 Give them a helping hand with our favorite contoured sleep mask, one that can help block out light without sacrificing comfort. Meghan Kavanaugh, USA TODAY, "25 awesome gifts teachers will actually use," 22 Oct. 2019 These people are simply at risk of pulling their masks off at an exaggerated slow rate on television before slipping back to whatever corner of yesteryeardom they were fished out from. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "'The Masked Singer' Recap: The Eagle Has Crash-Landed," 10 Oct. 2019 Breath echoing in his snorkeling mask, sun like a warm hand on his back, pushing, pushing. Katie Gutierrez, Longreads, "How to Predict the Unpredictable," 24 Sep. 2019 Even Ivanka Trump pulled on a welding mask for the cameras and tried her hand with a torch. Paul Tough, The Atlantic, "The Myth of the Wealthy Welder," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two employees were in the store when two masked men entered, brandished guns and attempted to rob them, police said. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Akron beauty supply shop employee fatally shoots robbery suspect, police say," 18 Nov. 2019 The illicit power that masks and anonymity offer their wearers is a subject that Watchmen returns to again and again. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Watchmen Is a Blistering Modern Allegory," 21 Oct. 2019 Deputy District Attorney Flavio Nominati alleged in court earlier this year that Yslas and Ramirez entered the home masked and gloved. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 plead guilty in Pacific Beach shotgun slaying," 18 Oct. 2019 These include the size of the neural network being baked, the amount of pretraining data, how that pretraining data is masked and how long the neural network gets to train on it. Quanta Magazine, "Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?," 17 Oct. 2019 But even as her message was being broadcast, the South China Morning Post reports, hundreds of protesters were in the streets, masked and defying Lam. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The latest violence in Hong Kong now has the UN’s attention," 5 Oct. 2019 Two masked men robbed a PNC Bank in ChampionsGate on Wednesday morning as employees were getting ready to begin their shift, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. Cristóbal Reyes,, "Masked men in stolen car robbed ChampionsGate bank, Osceola deputies say," 25 Sep. 2019 Up to four times a week for four to five hours a day during tubing season, Young dons a wetsuit, tanks and mask and dives in hunting for sunken treasures. Richard A. Marini,, "New Braunfels scuba diver hunts for treasures lost by tubers," 16 July 2019 Days earlier, masked men suspected of links to the security forces opened fire on a demonstration there, killing at least 18 people. Washington Post, "Iraq protesters storm Baghdad bridge, medic killed," 6 Nov. 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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mask.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 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).


to constrict the range or activity of

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