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), mas·quer·ad·ed, mas·quer·ad·ing.

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

Synonyms for masquerade Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for masquerader

Historical Examples of masquerader

  • 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.

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 (intr)

to participate in a masquerade; disguise oneself
to dissemble
Derived Formsmasquerader, noun

Word Origin for masquerade

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 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