or mask

[mask, mahsk]


a form of aristocratic entertainment in England in the 16th and 17th centuries, originally consisting of pantomime and dancing but later including dialogue and song, presented in elaborate productions given by amateur and professional actors.
a dramatic composition for such entertainment.
a masquerade; masked ball; revel.


Origin of masque

From Middle French, dating back to 1505–15; see origin at mask
Can be confusedmask masque mosque Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for masque

Contemporary Examples of masque

Historical Examples of masque

  • For himself, he has played and played and played, at the 'Masque,' till even I bade him stop.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

  • "There is going to be a night masque, and a mock combat at the Louvre," the man said.

  • Somehow he had not seen the real story, but some game or masque.

  • It is a masque of the gods, and not a ballad like the Winning of Thor's Hammer.

  • We have given a few in the case of the masque and the 'Midsummer Night's Dream.'

British Dictionary definitions for masque




a dramatic entertainment of the 16th to 17th centuries in England, consisting of pantomime, dancing, dialogue, and song, often performed at court
the words and music written for a masque
short for masquerade

Word Origin for masque

C16: variant of mask
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 masque

"masquerade, masked ball," 1510s, from Middle French masque; see mask (n.), with which it was originally identical. It developed a special sense of "amateur theatrical performance" (1560s) in Elizabethan times, when such entertainments (originally performed in masks) were popular among the nobility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper