Definition of disguise in English:



  • 1 Give (someone or oneself) a different appearance in order to conceal one's identity.

    ‘he disguised himself as a girl’
    ‘Brian was disguised as a priest’
    • ‘When she was younger, she had disguised herself as a boy to learn weaponry, and now she was skilled in using a short sword and a buckler.’
    • ‘In order to reach the river, they'd disguised themselves as servants.’
    • ‘When he decided to develop a navy, he disguised himself as a carpenter so that he might learn at first hand how ships should be built.’
    • ‘The enigmatic Duke then disguises himself as a priest in order to observe the events.’
    • ‘The magician disguised himself as a friendly merchant and paid the King and his family a visit.’
    • ‘He disguised himself as a beggar and asked the opinions of some of the people in his city.’
    • ‘This is why she has taken no money, and disguised herself as a working-class woman.’
    • ‘In 1671 he and Maria disguised themselves as a parson and his wife. They visited the keeper of the jewels and Maria pretended to faint to cause a distraction.’
    • ‘I disguised myself as a wizard, wearing a long cloak and holding a staff.’
    • ‘Kathleen disguised herself as a man by having her long hair hidden beneath a cap and traveling dressed as a man.’
    • ‘She disguised herself as a peasant boy and romped in the marketplace, darting between the steam drums and the soup kettles.’
    • ‘A few years back baseball caps were used to disguise someone's appearance.’
    • ‘With her true identity safely disguised Liz began to play openly in the store.’
    • ‘A handful of women disguised themselves as men and fought alongside male soldiers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘Police in turn disguised themselves as tourists, secretly videoing visitors as they moved round the exhibition site.’
    • ‘He enlisted the help of a druidess, and disguised himself as a woman.’
    • ‘He dressed up, disguising himself as a youth and joined them.’
    • ‘He said rebels had disguised themselves as traders attending the weekend market.’
    • ‘She is supposed to have disguised herself as a pauper for a young priest who, out of charity, took her to an inn to feed her.’
    • ‘During the Civil War in America, unknown numbers of females disguised themselves as male soldiers.’
    in disguise, camouflaged, incognito, under cover
    sailing under false colours
    dress oneself up as, pass oneself of as, pretend to be, impersonate, pose as
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    1. 1.1Make (something) unrecognizable by altering its appearance, sound, taste, or smell.
      ‘does holding a handkerchief over the mouthpiece really disguise your voice?’
      • ‘Culinary historians are divided over the use of sauces and marinades, but the conventional theory is that they were used to disguise the taste of ingredients past their primes.’
      • ‘A tincture is easier for children to take and it can be added to a little juice to disguise the taste.’
      • ‘Once on the skin it creates a light-reflecting surface which disguises a grey complexion.’
      • ‘It can make sweet things sweeter, it can disguise unpleasant tastes and smells and it is the most versatile food ingredient known to man.’
      • ‘This would have disguised the smell from dogs used by customs officials to check for drugs.’
      • ‘What began as a cheap and easy way to disguise the taste of alcohol in prohibition America quickly became the drink of choice for the privileged fast set of the 1920s.’
      • ‘The first wax to be used was animal fat which was boiled and strained till it turned to tallow and then had scents added to it to disguise the smell.’
      • ‘A simple and effective form of disguising a voice is whispering.’
      • ‘Various coatings were devised to disguise any bitter or unpleasant taste, gold and silver being particularly valued.’
      • ‘Operators must not camouflage or disguise the cameras in a way that could lead to a public perception of ‘sly operations’.’
      • ‘When we do see him eat out it is often at a Mexican take-out, where quantities of hot sauce disguise the taste.’
      • ‘‘I could teach you to play the guitar,’ I said, unable to disguise the eager tone in my voice.’
      • ‘She disguised her voice to make it sound deeper and manlier, and with the wrap covering her mouth, it made it sound even more muffled.’
      • ‘The danger lies in alcopops, which are flavoured with things like cranberry or orange to disguise the taste of vodka.’
      • ‘She didn't bother disguising her voice, for she was beyond caring.’
      • ‘He asked that we disguise his voice and face, afraid of retribution by those who run the criminal enterprise.’
      • ‘The bootleg alcohol that was produced then, often called gut-rot, tasted so vile that the bartenders learned to mix the alcohol with fruit juices to disguise the taste.’
      • ‘‘Great outfit,’ Joey said disguising his voice with scratchy sounds.’
      • ‘Even the radio commentators had a hard time disguising their reviews to appear fair.’
      • ‘I bet there aren't many children who eat fish that isn't wrapped in batter and swamped in ketchup to disguise the fishy taste.’
      camouflage, conceal, hide, cover up, make inconspicuous, mask, screen, shroud, veil, cloak
      dissemble, dissimulate, gloss over, varnish over, paper over
      put up a smokescreen, misrepresent, falsify, give a false picture of
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    2. 1.2Conceal the nature or existence of (a feeling or situation)
      ‘he made no effort to disguise his contempt’
      • ‘The police made no more than a token effort to disguise their enthusiasm for the militia cause.’
      • ‘Elizabeth was always good at disguising her feelings and keeping herself under control.’
      • ‘The judges make no effort to disguise their boredom.’
      • ‘But his assurances do not disguise his very real fears.’
      • ‘It's very easy to tell a fun story which disguised my feelings about the most painful moment in my life.’
      • ‘He made no effort to disguise his annoyance.’
      • ‘He sat mute next to James, who also made no effort to disguise his own bad mood.’
      • ‘Feeling slightly humiliated, Anna folded her arms, sat back in her chair and pouted, making no effort to disguise her anger toward his put-down.’
      • ‘Harry disguises the latent homosexual feelings he has for his best friend Ron, by having a string of one night stands with besotted girls in the year below him.’
      • ‘This blitz of ads sells superficial cosmetics as a mask to disguise the glaring self-deficiency felt by most people today.’
      • ‘She made no effort to disguise her contempt for them.’
      • ‘I didn't make an effort to disguise my emotions or hide my tears, which were slowly beginning to fall.’
      • ‘Ronnie jumped in eagerly, almost clasping her hands in poorly disguised relief.’
      • ‘It disguised her feelings, her hopes, her wishes… but spilled them into words.’
      • ‘John, though unable to disguise the pleasure he had derived from his overall performance against the Barbarians, was the first to point out that he had been some way from flawless.’
      • ‘Denying that or disguising that or hiding that love is very, very injurious to human beings.’
      • ‘She joked about their religious frame of reference but could not disguise her deep cultural pride.’
      • ‘To describe its findings as a whitewash would be uncharitable to previous whitewashes, which at least made some effort to disguise their intent.’
      • ‘In this battle of minds the most urgent task is to throw a spotlight on an organisation which has, for too long, been able to disguise its true totalitarian nature.’
      • ‘They didn't disguise any of their contempt for the ‘pathetic old bankrupt’ they considered him to be.’
      camouflage, conceal, hide, cover up, make inconspicuous, mask, screen, shroud, veil, cloak
      dissemble, dissimulate, gloss over, varnish over, paper over
      put up a smokescreen, misrepresent, falsify, give a false picture of
      View synonyms


  • 1A means of altering one's appearance or concealing one's identity.

    ‘his bizarre disguise drew stares from fellow shoppers’
    • ‘He is known to alter his appearance through the use of disguises and has travelled extensively through the US, Europe, Canada and Mexico.’
    • ‘He modelled the disguises, drank with journalists and told tales of his life as a soldier, smuggler, thief, acrobat, quack doctor, convict, spy, policeman, factory-owner and private detective.’
    • ‘However, the owner of a neighboring business says several months ago he asked if she could assist with makeup for disguises.’
    • ‘A great crowd turned out in a variety of disguises.’
    • ‘He and his gang of accomplices adopted disguises.’
    • ‘Across the tent were folded pieces of clothing, obviously used in disguises.’
    • ‘To put it in context here, though, disguises were used in respect to the robberies.’
    • ‘He also used his many disguises to fool local publicans.’
    • ‘She wore disguises to go to the phone boxes, she wore gloves and she really covered her tracks.’
    • ‘So naturally, that was the first thing Lori searched for, after donning her disguise.’
    • ‘At other times, their superheroic identities are kept secret, hidden beneath mundane disguises.’
    • ‘He was looking for clever disguises so he can hide out without being noticed.’
    • ‘When the war ended in 1918, he donned a disguise and fled temporarily into Switzerland.’
    • ‘It's not the most appealing picture, but come on, she lived in the woods, she wore disguises, she begged for money in public.’
    • ‘More clothes and disguises were needed, debts also needed to be repaid, and tracks covered.’
    • ‘At this time my father also became a master of disguises, taking on various identities when necessary for his mission.’
    • ‘But despite their many disguises, the two-person crew still managed to rouse suspicion.’
    • ‘The ballets are full of disguises, cross-dressing, and transformations.’
    • ‘What's more, Clint wears a lot of disguises - he even he dresses up as a clown.’
    • ‘His job was to create disguises, conjuring up such convincing new identities for agents that even their own families were not able to recognize them.’
    false appearance, camouflage, concealment
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    1. 1.1The state of having altered one's appearance in order to conceal one's identity.
      ‘I told them you were a policewoman in disguise’
      • ‘They have just finished their 12-year exile in the forest after losing the game of dice and are about to enter the phase of having to live in disguise.’
      • ‘He lived with a woman called Macy and travelled widely through Europe, returning to Ireland only on rare occasions, always in disguise.’
      • ‘He came in disguise, with a fake name, because he knew ‘Prince Charming’ was too obvious.’
      • ‘I would never want to be like certain people, who change the way they dress, go out in disguise, wear a big floppy hat and dark shades.’
      • ‘‘Regardless of his status in politics, Roger never came to the club in disguise,’ he recalls.’
      • ‘You may have seen the computer-enhanced pictures the police released which allegedly show what she might look if she was in disguise.’
      • ‘King Richard also makes an appearance at the tournament, dressed in disguise.’
      • ‘The titular hero does not appear in propria persona to take a prominent part in the action until late in the novel, though he appears in disguise earlier.’
      • ‘Was the supermodel in fact the mysterious architect in disguise, or was this just another trick?’
      • ‘My understanding was that these reporters concealed their identities and they went in disguise.’
      • ‘According to unconfirmed reports, militants in disguise opened fire and detonated an explosive device.’
      • ‘One day it was an FBI agent in disguise, then the next we had a KGB double agent called Boris, would you believe.’
      • ‘So you'll be in disguise, with a fake name and identity.’
      • ‘When he wasn't in disguise, he wore silk pajamas.’
      • ‘Merlin appears not only as a sorcerer and a wise man but also as a trickster. Constantly, he appears before Arthur in disguise, as a child, a beggar, an old peasant.’
      • ‘Whoever said anything about being in disguise?’
      • ‘Next morning he left secretly and, in disguise, appeared at Vendome, for he had been negotiating to marry the duke's daughter.’
      • ‘Even last October I thought nothing of travelling, illegally and in disguise, high up into the Khyber Pass.’
      • ‘He has a secret weapon for cow rustling, then when the farms go broke he appears in disguise with a bagload of cash.’
      • ‘He told The Times newspaper that ‘living in disguise as a politician in the modern world simply isn't an option’.’
    2. 1.2The concealing of one's true intentions or feelings.
      ‘rows of small children looked at her without disguise’
      • ‘The use of religious language, as an expression of a religiously grounded culture, was not a disguise of pre-existing intentions.’
      • ‘And from the storm that swirled a formal nakedness took shape, the truth of disguise and the mask of belief were joined forever.’
      • ‘And it is crucial to see that the image of his humanity is not a disguise covering the truer reality of his divinity.’
      • ‘I have communicated to him without disguise. Candor is an important character trait in the novel.’
      • ‘Scarlet's childish behavior was only a disguise; her true self was a woman of virtue, courage, honor, and determination.’
      facade, front, false front, cover-up, masquerade, veneer, mask, veil
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Middle English (meaning change one's usual style of dress with no implication of concealing one's identity): from Old French desguisier.