[dis-gahyz, dih-skahyz]

verb (used with object), dis·guised, dis·guis·ing.

to change the appearance or guise of so as to conceal identity or mislead, as by means of deceptive garb: The king was disguised as a peasant.
to conceal or cover up the truth or actual character of by a counterfeit form or appearance; misrepresent: to disguise one's intentions.


that which disguises; something that serves or is intended for concealment of identity, character, or quality; a deceptive covering, condition, manner, etc.: Noble words can be the disguise of base intentions.
the makeup, mask, costume, or overall changed appearance of an entertainer: a clown's disguise.
the act of disguising: to speak without disguise.
the state of being disguised; masquerade: The gods appeared in disguise.

Origin of disguise

1275–1325; Middle English disg(u)isen < Anglo-French, Old French de(s)guiser, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -guiser, derivative of guise guise
Related formsdis·guis·a·ble, adjectivedis·guis·ed·ly, adverbdis·guis·ed·ness, noundis·guis·er, noundis·guise·ment, nounnon·dis·guised, adjectivepre·dis·guise, noun, verb (used with object), pre·dis·guised, pre·dis·guis·ing.un·dis·guis·a·ble, adjectiveun·dis·guised, adjectiveun·dis·guis·ed·ly, adverbwell-dis·guised, adjective

Synonyms for disguise

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disguise

Contemporary Examples of disguise

Historical Examples of disguise

  • What seems an evil is meant for a good purpose, and is a blessing in disguise.

  • Now Mike had determined to keep from the girl the fact that he had penetrated her disguise.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The eyes of this Favart once on me, every disguise and every double will not long avail.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Morse was disappointed at this refusal, but it proved a blessing in disguise.

  • It is useless to attempt to disguise the fear that had fallen upon him.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for disguise



to modify the appearance or manner in order to conceal the identity of (oneself, someone, or something)
(tr) to misrepresent in order to obscure the actual nature or meaningto disguise the facts


a mask, costume, or manner that disguises
the act of disguising or the state of being disguised
Derived Formsdisguisable, adjectivedisguised, adjectivedisguisedly (dɪsˈɡaɪzɪdlɪ), adverbdisguiser, noun

Word Origin for disguise

C14: from Old French desguisier, from des- dis- 1 + guise manner; see guise
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

Word Origin and History for disguise

c.1300, from Old French desguiser (11c.) "disguise, change one's appearance," from des- "away, off" (see dis-) + guise "style, appearance" (see guise). Originally primarily "to put out of one's usual manner" (of dress, etc.). Oldest sense preserved in phrase disguised with liquor (1560s).

It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety. [Thomas de Quincy, "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater," 1856]

Related: Disguised; disguising.


c.1400, "strange style of dress" (especially one meant to deceive), from disguise (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with disguise


see blessing in disguise.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.