(1)   Activity that tries to conceal something
"No mask could conceal his ignorance"
"They moved in under a mask of friendship"
(2)   A covering to disguise or conceal the face
(3)   A protective covering worn over the face
(4)   A party of guests wearing costumes and masks


(5)   Put a mask on or cover with a mask
"Mask the children for Halloween"
(6)   Shield from light
(7)   Cover with a sauce
"Mask the meat"
(8)   Hide under a false appearance
"He masked his disappointment"


From from maschera 'mask, disguise' from , mascha, mascus 'mask, nightmare, ghost', of uncertain origin. Replaced grīma "mask".

, mascha, mascus may represent the merger of two or more words: one related to mascurer 'to blacken, cover the face' (cf. mascarar, mascarar), a conflation of a source represented by mæscre 'a mesh; a spot', masc 'net, netting', māsca 'mesh, ties', all from from from the practice of wearing mesh netting over the face as a mask to filter air, keeping soot and dust particles from entering the lungs (cf surgical mask, gas mask, etc.), and a stem *maska, mask- 'black' believed to be of Pre-Indo-European origin giving rise to words meaning 'witch, wizard, sorcerer' (cf Old masco 'witch', masca 'witch', masque 'brothel-keeper, witch'); and another perhaps from Arabic مسخرة (maskhara(t)) “buffoon, fool, pleasantry, anything ridiculous” < سخرة (sakhira) “to ridicule, to laugh at”.
  • Derived from the -r- form: Italian , Spanish and Portuguese máscara, Dutch , English masquerade.
  • Derived from the form lacking -r-: German and Swedish .


  1. A cover, or partial cover, for the face, used for disguise or protection.
    a dancer's mask; a fencer's mask; a ball player's mask
  2. That which disguises; a pretext or subterfuge.
  3. A festive entertainment of dancing or other diversions, where all wear masks; a masquerade; hence, a revel; a frolic; a delusive show - Francis Bacon
    • John Milton:
      This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask.
  4. A dramatic performance, formerly in vogue, in which the actors wore masks and represented mythical or allegorical characters.
  5. A grotesque head or face, used to adorn keystones and other prominent parts, to spout water in fountains, and the like; -- called also mascaron.
  6. In a permanent fortification, a redoubt which protects the caponiere.
  7. A screen for a battery
  8. The lower lip of the larva of a dragon fly, modified so as to form a prehensile organ.
  9. (Puebloan anthropology) The ceremonial objects used in Puebloan kachina cults that resemble Euro-American masks. (The term is objected as an appropriate translation by Puebloan peoples as it emphasizes imitation but ignores power and representational intent.)
  10. A pattern of bits used in bitwise operations; bitmask.
  11. A two-color (black and white) bitmap generated from an image, used to create transparency in the image.


  1. To cover, as the face, by way of concealment or defense against injury; to conceal with a mask or visor.
    • Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, IV,vi:
      They must all be masked and vizarded
  2. To disguise; to cover; to hide.
    • Shakespeare, Macbeth, III-i:
      Masking the business from the common eye
  3. To conceal; also, to intervene in the line of.
  4. To cover or keep in check.
    to mask a body of troops or a fortess by a superior force, while some hostile evolution is being carried out
  5. To take part as a masker in a masquerade - Cavendish.
  6. To wear a mask; to be disguised in any way - Shakespeare.

Etymology 1

From . Cognate with English , Danish and Finnish .

Etymology 2

From < . Details: see above, mask.


  1. mask; a cover designed to disguise or protect the face