• synonyms


  1. a party, dance, or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises, and often elegant, historical, or fantastic costumes.
  2. a costume or disguise worn at such a gathering.
  3. false outward show; façade; pretense: a hypocrite's masquerade of virtue.
  4. activity, existence, etc., under false pretenses: a rich man's masquerade as a beggar.
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verb (used without object), mas·quer·ad·ed, mas·quer·ad·ing.
  1. 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.
  2. to disguise oneself.
  3. to take part in a masquerade.
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Origin of masquerade

1580–90; earlier masquerada, mascarado, pseudo-Spanish forms of Middle French mascarade < Upper Italian mascherada; see mask, -ade1
Related formsmas·quer·ad·er, noun


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for masqueraded

Historical Examples

  • Communistic quackery has masqueraded as sociological wisdom.

    Appletons' Popular Science Monthly, October 1899


  • Mr. Buffington was rich in names, and had masqueraded under at least a dozen.

  • She felt that she ought to—but that was only because I masqueraded in your history.

    The Two Vanrevels

    Booth Tarkington

  • I had masqueraded as one of the ghosts in this accursed house.

    Man and Maid

    E. (Edith) Nesbit

  • It was the girl with the Gypsies who had masqueraded as the queen.

British Dictionary definitions for masqueraded


  1. a party or other gathering to which the guests wear masks and costumes
  2. the disguise worn at such a function
  3. a pretence or disguise
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verb (intr)
  1. to participate in a masquerade; disguise oneself
  2. to dissemble
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Derived Formsmasquerader, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Spanish mascarada, from mascara 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 masqueraded



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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper