surgical mask

noun

plural surgical masks
: a rectangular-shaped face mask (as of fabric or polypropylene fiber) that is typically secured by two straps tied in the back of head and is intended to be worn by medical personnel during surgical procedures especially to protect the wearer against splashes or splatters of blood or body fluid and to prevent contamination of the patient's surgical wounds
We all know that the human mouth, in microbiological terms, is one of the filthiest things on the planet. Hence a device that could keep things from falling out of the surgeon's mouth and into a wound would be highly desirable. Enter the surgical mask: simple and relatively cheap.Howard Seiden
On a Thursday afternoon in mid-December, Dr. Roger Ott Sr. pulled on a pair of latex gloves, a surgical mask and a gown, and stepped into the operating room for a routine surgical procedure.Susan Gwiasda
also : a face mask (such as a procedure mask) that resembles a surgical mask
It used to be that shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater was the classic panic trigger. Now it's coughing or sneezing. … Until this crisis is over, theaters should hand out surgical masks to all patrons. John Weeks
The fine metal dust that is raised in polishing can be unhealthy if breathed in, so wear a surgical mask while polishing. Reader's Digest Crafts & Hobbies

Examples of surgical mask in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At one of the stops a group of young men got on, all wearing surgical masks or face coverings. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 12 May 2024 Images of him kneeling on the floor, in a suit and a surgical mask, picking up empty water bottles and scraps of paper, went viral and came to encapsulate everything Trumpism was not. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2024 The two men were wearing black rain jackets and black surgical masks. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 26 Mar. 2024 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant Jason Johansson described the suspect as a Black man wearing black or dark clothes and a mask, which may have been a surgical mask. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 5 Mar. 2024 The three suspects in the Auburn Hills robbery and four suspects in the Sterling Heights robbery were Black males wearing hoodies and surgical masks, police said. Jenna Prestininzi, Detroit Free Press, 1 Feb. 2024 Others put on surgical masks before venturing outdoors. Bobby Caina Calvan, Fortune, 30 June 2023 Surveillance video showed a woman whose face was obscured by a hoodie and surgical mask breaking in and dousing the floors with a gasoline can. Kate Zernike, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2024 Police described the suspect as a man, wearing a surgical mask and all dark clothing. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 26 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'surgical mask.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of surgical mask was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near surgical mask

Cite this Entry

“Surgical mask.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surgical%20mask. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

surgical mask

noun
: a protective mask covering the mouth and nose that is typically secured by two straps tied in the back of head and is intended to be worn by medical personnel during surgical procedures especially to protect the wearer against splashes or splatters of blood or body fluid and to prevent contamination of the patient's surgical wounds

Medical Definition

surgical mask

noun
: a rectangular-shaped face mask (as of fabric or polypropylene fiber) that is typically secured by two straps tied behind the head and that is intended to be worn by medical personnel during surgical procedures especially to protect the wearer against splashes or splatters of body fluids and to prevent contamination of the patient's surgical wounds
Surgical masks have been in widespread use since the early 1900s to help prevent infection of surgical wounds from staff-generated nasal and oral bacteria. Today, surgical masks vary widely in style and intended application and can be found in a broad range of hospital and health care settings.Tara Oberg and Lisa M. Brosseau, American Journal of Infection Control
also : a face mask (such as a {d_link|procedure mask|procedure_mask) that resembles a surgical mask
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