Definition of whiteface in US English:



  • 1White stage makeup.

    • ‘Germans don whiteface for Carnival, while urban African blacks paint their faces white in rites of passage.’
    • ‘As a black man going undercover in whiteface, he investigates this secret world with laughable results.’
    • ‘However, it was not only in theater that this stage Irish character of whiteface began to appear.’
    • ‘This paper looks at the previously unconsidered racial stereotype of whiteface utilized by Anglo Americans in the middle of the nineteenth century to distance their working-class from those of the newly arrived immigrant Irish.’
    • ‘The success of burlesque in the late 1860s spawned several all-female white troupes performing standard minstrel routines in whiteface.’
    • ‘He has landed a ‘sit-down job, with benefits’ in an arcade, posing as Abraham Lincoln - whiteface and all - for patrons who pay to shoot blanks at him.’
    • ‘The top dog, Lincoln, in costume and whiteface, impersonates Honest Abe in a sideshow, for customers playing Booth to shoot at.’
    • ‘In trademark whiteface and Buster Keaton regalia, Viglione pummeled his drums in a murderous rage, while Palmer's full, rich voice created a palpable drama.’
    • ‘What would they have made of Edward D. Wood's horrifyingly inept cine-poems - or of Oscar Micheaux's melodramas, with black actors in whiteface?’
    • ‘In the context of this event, the dancers' makeup - whiteface with eyes and mouths outlined - had a disturbing edge, though as they moved they conjured more Weimar than minstrel show.’
    cosmetics, greasepaint
    View synonyms
  • 2North American A Hereford cow or bull.

    • ‘I've been breeding white-faces - pure-bred Herefords.’