[uhn-mask, -mahsk]
verb (used with object)
  1. to strip a mask or disguise from.
  2. to reveal the true character of; disclose; expose.
  3. Military. to reveal the presence of (guns) by firing.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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


[mas-king, mah-sking]
  1. backing(def 4).
  2. Psychology. obscuring, partially or completely, one sensory process by another, as the dulling of the sense of taste by smoking.

Origin of masking

First recorded in 1920–25; mask + -ing1, -ing2
Related formsun·mask·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unmasking

Contemporary Examples of unmasking

Historical Examples of unmasking

British Dictionary definitions for unmasking


  1. the act or practice of masking
  2. psychol the process by which a stimulus (usually visual or auditory) is obscured by the presence of another almost simultaneous stimulus


  1. to remove (the mask or disguise) from (someone or oneself)
  2. to appear or cause to appear in true character
  3. (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 unmasking



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unmasking in Medicine


  1. The concealment or the screening of one sensory process or sensation by another.
  2. An opaque covering used to camouflage the metal parts of a prosthesis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.