white·​face | \ ˈ(h)wīt-ˌfās How to pronounce whiteface (audio) \

Definition of whiteface

1 : a white-faced animal specifically : hereford
2 : dead-white facial makeup a clown in whiteface

Examples of whiteface in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the Rolling Thunder Revue, behind the mask of whiteface, his eyes were ablaze. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Bob Dylan’s Glam Hootenanny: Returning to Rolling Thunder," 5 June 2019 Did not expect this creepy Donald Glover whiteface plot... Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Donald Glover Stayed in Whiteface the Entire Time on Set During the Filming of Latest 'Atlanta' Episode," 9 Apr. 2018 The production’s all-black cast performs this section in whiteface, employing ultrastylized buffoonish movement and diction that emphasize the characters’ stupidity and cravenness, with a nod to the dehumanizing stereotypes of minstrelsy. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Daring idea, but flawed e xecution, in ‘Day of Absence’," 15 Oct. 2019 While catering to audiences unaccustomed to seeing African-American performers in European opera houses, Mr. Ray sometimes performed in whiteface. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "William Benjamin Ray Sr., opera star, civil rights activist, former Peabody Conservatory professor, dies at 94," 14 July 2019 And to top it all off, someone — not Donald Glover, and not Lakeith Stanfield, but someone — sat calmly in quasi-whiteface as Atlanta character Teddy Perkins, without saying a word throughout the ceremony. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Hollywood had a breakdown trying to justify itself at the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 The other is 50 years in the future after China has assumed world dominance and consists of a full-blown musical complete with a singing and dancing Hillary Clinton and a chorus of 19 Asians in whiteface. Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Soft Power’s’ Hwang, Tesori talk about their hit musical at SF Asian film fest," 21 May 2018 For seemingly no reason at all, a kid in crude whiteface smirks ghoulishly from the back of Vanessa's classroom. Michelle Ofiwe, Esquire, "How Donald Glover Changed the Way Black Stories Are Told on Television," 10 Nov. 2016 No wonder his final role in this play is as a maddened King Lear – played in whiteface. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Red Velvet' evokes a black actor who made history," 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whiteface.' 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 whiteface

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of whiteface was in 1709

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Cite this Entry

“Whiteface.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiteface. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on whiteface

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whiteface

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