Definition of masquerade in English:



  • 1A false show or pretense.

    ‘his masquerade ended when he was arrested’
    • ‘Everday life is almost solely composed of a series of ritualized masquerades.’
    • ‘Someone call the Washington Times and alert them to this sly wolfish masquerade!’
    • ‘I had to think of a way to end this masquerade, but a crowd had formed to watch and I didn't want to break up something that could be considered cool.’
    • ‘Dr Watson was seldom in danger of seeing through any of these masquerades.’
    • ‘As masquerades start to unravel and tanks roll into town Charlotte is forced to decide whose safety matters most.’
    • ‘Later in the novel, Clara performs a masquerade in reverse, pretending to be a governess while she is still working as a servant.’
    • ‘The mainly young protesters, many in their teens, defied the security forces' assaults and chanted slogans against the upcoming presidential elections, calling it a masquerade.’
    • ‘If only this was just a Shakespearean farce and we could snigger at the gross stupidity of the characters portrayed and their ridiculous masquerades, but shamefully it is real and we are obliged to see it through to the end.’
    • ‘On the one hand, looking within from without causes her to adopt and discard various socially approved feminine masquerades whilst her ‘real’ self remains in hiding.’
    • ‘There are some journalists and war reporters who, despite years of experience, are very opinionated and whose masquerade of objectivity is easy to see through.’
    • ‘But still, ever since I began this masquerade, I had tried to change everything.’
    • ‘Some drawings are barely colored at all, others more fully, but one invariably feels that the artist is engaged in a masquerade of his own, pretending to be a child grown impatient with rules.’
    • ‘Now, though, unable to be true to himself, his painting too became a masquerade.’
    • ‘Subsequently, the duke joins in on the masquerade, play-acting the threat of sexual violence - a rehearsal for his actions later in the film.’
    • ‘This belief makes each of the parties put up the masquerade up to the very end in the hope that once the prize is won, they would be able to jettison the other parties.’
    • ‘It is unlikely we will soon return to a masquerade of can-can supported grandeur and today's parade music must bow to that reality-not the other way around.’
    pretence, deception, pose, act, front, facade, disguise, dissimulation, cover-up, bluff, subterfuge, play-acting, make-believe
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    1. 1.1The wearing of disguise.
      ‘dressing up, role playing, and masquerade’
      • ‘These drawings and models were juxtaposed with photographs of adult masquerade performances and examples of the masks themselves.’
      • ‘He upheld a New York State statute prohibiting the wearing of masks or facial disguises in public, other than for masquerade or similar entertainment purposes.’
      • ‘Approximately fifty masquerade types appeared in the 1993 festival.’
      • ‘Rather, it presented and discussed children's masquerade in Africa, a subject little explored but much witnessed by scholars studying African cultures.’
      • ‘This distance functions like a mask or masquerade, revealing more than it hides.’
      • ‘Over her long and varied career, she has used masquerade, performance and role-playing to extend the frontiers of her own identity.’
      • ‘Some were dressed in costumes made from animal heads or fur - the origin of the contemporary Halloween masquerade.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, because we are accustomed to the roles each actor usually performs, we become acutely aware that we are witnessing a performance, or masquerade.’
      • ‘Carnival Messiah has 100 performers from the worlds of theatre, opera, dance and masquerade, some international, others local.’
      • ‘Here is combined a long deep legacy of dress-up for masquerade, for carnival, for possession by the Gods combined with personal creativity and ingenuity.’
      • ‘The film explores this realm through a complex narrative use of masks and masquerade.’
      • ‘This reverse process can make these viewers unknowingly complicit with their own duping through artfully crafted masquerade.’
      • ‘Or, how can one study a masquerade without discussing the physical mask, the apparent centerpiece of any masquerade?’
      • ‘Traditional African masquerade, dating back to the era before emancipation, used rags, paint, and spears to portray an image of a miserable, uncivilised past.’
      • ‘Pope Joan's description of the impromptu birth of her child, while the female pope was still in mannish masquerade, is a guaranteed conversation stopper.’
      • ‘Hasn't anyone besides me noticed the flavor of masquerade and carnivalesque fantasy in Joan's behavior?’
    2. 1.2North American A masked ball.
      • ‘It is a site devoted to this musical masquerade.’
      • ‘The masquerade starts after dinner from 9: 10 pm and will last into the early hours.’
      • ‘I can't believe that you managed to get him to escort you to this masquerade.’
      • ‘The cost is 1,000 yuan for dinner and masquerade, 500 yuan for masquerade only.’
      • ‘The best part was to be the New Year's eve masquerade.’
      masked ball, masque, fancy-dress party
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  • 1 Pretend to be someone one is not.

    ‘a journalist masquerading as a man in distress’
    • ‘I was certainly startled by the two people I saw masquerading as my parents.’
    • ‘Is this or isn't this a secret release from James masquerading under a different name?’
    • ‘A woman masquerades as a doctor, but is stalking a male staff member as part of a delusion of erotomania.’
    • ‘A man working in the Post Office turns out to be a special agent with the skill to uncover aliens masquerading as humans.’
    • ‘In the first, they chatted simultaneously with a woman and with a man masquerading as a woman, in an effort to spot the real woman.’
    • ‘There are many people that go around masquerading as boxing fans.’
    • ‘Someone could come across border masquerading as a border patrol agent.’
    • ‘And now many suspicious minds have concluded there is more than one person masquerading as the King.’
    • ‘When he masquerades as someone else, he is just a fake.’
    • ‘He masquerades as a bounty hunter and joins a small group of actors traveling to the King's palace to entertain the King, meeting the leader of the group, a charismatic young man with a taste for danger and beautiful women.’
    • ‘It's just a criminal gang masquerading as Loyalists.’
    • ‘The ambitious teenager masquerades as pilot, doctor and lawyer while mainlining in embezzlement.’
    • ‘The protagonists aren't rich characters masquerading as poor.’
    • ‘The rumours that this weblog is secretly written by a teenage prostitute masquerading as a 37 year old comedian are greatly exaggerated.’
    • ‘Lighthearted and serious at the same time, the story tells of a ruler who masquerades as a lowly sty-warden to observe what the community's various members do for the good of the whole.’
    • ‘After the usual anti-war stuff, he complains that ‘He is a Tory masquerading as a Labour politician’.’
    pretend to be, pose as, pass oneself off as, impersonate, disguise oneself as, simulate, profess to be
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    1. 1.1Be disguised or passed off as something else.
      ‘the idle gossip that masquerades as news in some local papers’
      • ‘I popped into the new coffee shop I spoke of a few days back and was served with a highly mediocre cup of sludgy end-of-day coffee masquerading as an Americano.’
      • ‘In reality, this is a gorgeous dessert masquerading as health food.’
      • ‘This is a fully fledged computer masquerading as a gaming gadget, and - as you can tell from the price - it is aimed not at children, but overgrown kids.’
      • ‘I submit that it is only a game masquerading as an athletic event.’
      • ‘All such hopes have turned to ashes as we now contemplate this sad, trouble-plagued, expensive tram system masquerading as a public service.’
      • ‘But the slogan of freedom masquerading as moral clarity is quite another.’
      • ‘She ended up working for a business that masquerades as a charity.’
      • ‘One of e-mail's drawbacks is that it masquerades as communication when it is best used for informing, broadcasting, or scheduling.’
      • ‘It has become a business masquerading as a sport.’
      • ‘The outbreak of a mass emailing worm, which masquerades as a matchmaking program, has been brought under control.’
      • ‘We need to speak out against intolerance that masquerades as tolerance.’
      • ‘A modern reproduction that masquerades as brass it may be, but still it is beautiful.’
      • ‘The lesson is dishonest in that it masquerades as science while including misrepresentations and factual errors.’
      • ‘Don't tell me this is masquerading under the guise of some kind of tribute.’
      • ‘There I was, patiently reading through Chapter Thirty, when I reached something that was masquerading as the end.’
      • ‘And because it masquerades as news, we naturally let our guard down, invoking a built in trust of that which is media establishment.’
      • ‘At one point as I was wading through gravy, gristle and fat that was masquerading as lamb cutlets, I thought I found a prime piece of meat.’
      • ‘Is it a personality flaw masquerading as a political philosophy?’
      • ‘Badly acted, written and directed, it is nothing more than a dirty movie masquerading as a character study.’
      • ‘It is just that, at this level, if you are serious about winning, you need to be ruthless when presented with anything vaguely masquerading as a chance.’


Late 16th century: from French mascarade, from Italian mascherata, from maschera mask.