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[mas-kuh-reyd] /ˌmæs kəˈreɪd/
a party, dance, or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises, and often elegant, historical, or fantastic costumes.
a costume or disguise worn at such a gathering.
false outward show; façade; pretense:
a hypocrite's masquerade of virtue.
activity, existence, etc., under false pretenses:
a rich man's masquerade as a beggar.
verb (used without object), masqueraded, masquerading.
to go about under false pretenses or a false character; assume the character of; give oneself out to be:
to masquerade as a former Russian count.
to disguise oneself.
to take part in a masquerade.
Origin of masquerade
1580-90; earlier masquerada, mascarado, pseudo-Spanish forms of Middle French mascarade < Upper Italian mascherada; see mask, -ade1
Related forms
masquerader, noun
1. mummery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for masquerader
Historical Examples
  • She had seen him too many times in the masquerader's Shows at Annapolis.

    Peggy Stewart at School

    Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • If Gibson is a masquerader in league with Cummings he must be exposed.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • The hopes of the masquerader were depressed by the fears of the real man.

    A Summer's Outing Carter H. Harrison
  • A soft chuckle reached her ear, and she knew that he knew he saw a masquerader.

    The Brand

    Therese Broderick
  • "But she called me a hypocrite; a Christian masquerader, Dogvane," he said.

  • Nature herself had cast Mr. Monk in the very mould of a masquerader.

    Alias The Lone Wolf Louis Joseph Vance
  • "The devil is a gentleman," the masquerader insisted firmly.

    The Day of Days Louis Joseph Vance
  • At all events, he would go out until Crailey had come and left again, for he had no desire to behold the masquerader's return.

    The Two Vanrevels Booth Tarkington
  • I am reading that most clever and wonderfully well-written novel, 'The masquerader.'

    The Fiction Factory John Milton Edwards
  • Twice she had tried to get Hentzi aside and learn what news, if any, had come of the masquerader.

British Dictionary definitions for masquerader


a party or other gathering to which the guests wear masks and costumes
the disguise worn at such a function
a pretence or disguise
verb (intransitive)
to participate in a masquerade; disguise oneself
to dissemble
Derived Forms
masquerader, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish mascarada, from mascaramask
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for masquerader



1650s, from masquerade (n.). Related: Masqueraded; masquerading.



1590s, "assembly of people wearing masks and disguises," from French mascarade or Spanish mascarada "masked party or dance," from Italian mascarata "a ball at which masks are worn," variant of mascherata "masquerade," from maschera (see mask (n.)). Figurative sense of "false outward show" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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