[uhn-mask, -mahsk]

verb (used with object)

to strip a mask or disguise from.
to reveal the true character of; disclose; expose.
Military. to reveal the presence of (guns) by firing.

verb (used without object)

to put off one's mask; appear in true nature.

Origin of unmask

First recorded in 1580–90; un-2 + mask
Related formsun·mask·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unmask

Contemporary Examples of unmask

Historical Examples of unmask

  • Him, his own high-born pupil was enabled to unmask, and his disgrace was visited on me.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • I would stake my life upon it they will unmask Olivia at once.

  • It was impossible to unmask that man unless by a long and careful action.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • He was intriguing in Havana—but how could we unmask him there?


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • In her proper person she is prodigal if she unmask her beauty to the moon.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks

British Dictionary definitions for unmask



to remove (the mask or disguise) from (someone or oneself)
to appear or cause to appear in true character
(tr) military to make evident the presence of (weapons), either by firing or by the removal of camouflage, etc
Derived Formsunmasker, noun
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 unmask

1580s in figurative sense, c.1600 in literal sense, from un- (2) + mask (v.). Related: Unmasked; unmasking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper