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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for masquerader
Historical Examples
  • He could not avoid being picturesque, yet there was nothing of the masquerader, the moving-picture cowboy.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • If Gibson is a masquerader in league with Cummings he must be exposed.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • The masquerader was both young and pretty; only the perspiration had poured down her face and left it grimy.

    Ruth Fielding In the Saddle Alice B. Emerson
  • A soft chuckle reached her ear, and she knew that he knew he saw a masquerader.

    The Brand Therese Broderick
  • "The devil is a gentleman," the masquerader insisted firmly.

    The Day of Days Louis Joseph Vance
  • "But she called me a hypocrite; a Christian masquerader, Dogvane," he said.

  • She had seen him too many times in the masquerader's Shows at Annapolis.

    Peggy Stewart at School Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • Twice she had tried to get Hentzi aside and learn what news, if any, had come of the masquerader.

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

    The Fiction Factory John Milton Edwards
  • Marcia Howe was no masquerader, and until this moment the hypocrisy she had practiced had demanded no sustained acting.

    Shifting Sands Sara Ware Bassett
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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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