Politics dictionary


or antimasker [ an-tee-mask-er ]

What does anti-masker mean?

Anti-masker is a disparaging term for a person who opposes wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts strongly recommend wearing masks to prevent and slow the spread of the disease.

How does our 2020 Word of the Year relate to anti-masker? Find out here!

Related words

Zoom mom, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, Karen, maskne

Where does anti-masker come from?

Wearing a mask helps protect you and others from getting and spreading COVID-19. Learn more from the CDC.

An anti-masker is a person who is anti (opposed to, against) wearing various medical masks and other such face coverings to prevent the spread of disease, specifically COVID-19. Anti-masker began appearing on social media early in 2020, coinciding with the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. The term anti-masker is influenced by anti-vaxxer, a disparaging term for people who distrust or oppose vaccinations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts have advised people to wear masks in public places and gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by a highly contagious, airborne virus. Many governments have issued mandatory mask mandates in response.

But a lot of people refused to wear masks, and wearing them became hotly politicized. Some people were skeptical that masks work and believe the risks of COVID-19 have been overblown. Others rejected masks as an exercise of civil liberties.

Opposition to masks was notably exacerbated by President Donald Trump, who publicly downplayed the virus and undermined the necessity and effectiveness of masks, despite wearing one himself on some occasions.

As 2020 unfolded and the pandemic persisted, anti-masker spread as a term that people concerned about the coronavirus use to mock people taking the virus too lightly by refusing to wear masks. The term anti-masking is also used to refer to the stance opposed to masks or to protest groups who oppose mask mandates. Anti-masking also became associated with the slang term Karen following a series of viral videos showing white women vehemently rejecting masks in public. 

Examples of anti-masker

Former anti-masker urges caution after contracting COVID-19
Iris Samuels, Associated Press, October 29, 2020
Just witnessed my first public anti-masker freak out and it was probably just as pathetic as you would imagine.
@jedimasterjohns, November 6, 2020

Who uses anti-masker?

Anti-masker is generally used as a pejorative term, and the position of anti-masking is strongly associated with supporters of President Trump. Occasionally, however, people identify themselves as anti-maskers.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of anti-masker like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of anti-masker that will help our users expand their word mastery.