General English

  • noun something which covers or protects your face

Cars & Driving

  • verb to cover the surrounding area when paint spraying to protect it from splashes


  • noun an integrated circuit layout that is used to define the pattern to be etched or doped onto a slice of semiconductor
  • noun a pattern of binary digits used to select various bits from a binary word. A one in the mask retains that bit in the word.
  • verb to cover an area of something with something


  • An object, stencil, or other device which is applied or placed upon a surface, so as to permit the selective passing of particles, beams, rays, substances, and so on, to form any desired patterns.
  • The use of a mask (1) to selectively shield portions of semiconductor wafers, or other materials, during manufacturing. Used, for instance, in lithography.
  • In a picture tube with a three-color gun, a grill with round holes that is placed behind the screen to make sure that each color beam strikes the correct phosphor dot on said screen. It insures, for instance, that the electron beam intended for the red phosphor dots only hits those. Also called aperture mask, or shadow mask.
  • To obscure a signal or sound with a stronger one.
  • A pattern of bits or characters which determines whether another set of bits or characters will be selected, transmitted, changed, or discarded.
  • A frame which serves to conceal the edges of a CRT.


  • verb to coat the inside of a mould with savoury jelly

Media Studies

  • noun a shield, often a sheet of paper, placed over areas of unexposed photographic film to stop light hitting it
  • verb to prevent unwanted light from reaching areas of unexposed photographic film, either using hands or a special shield


  • noun a metal and rubber frame that fits over the nose and mouth and is used to administer an anaesthetic
  • noun a piece of gauze which fits over the mouth and nose to prevent droplet infection
  • noun a cover which fits over the face of a person who has suffered facial damage in an accident


  • noun a black overlay put over part of a film or illustration, so that it does not reproduce
  • verb to cover those parts of a photograph which are not to be reproduced


  • A covering for the whole or part of an actor's face. Maskshave been worn since primitive times by those taking part in religiousand magical rituals. They entered the theater proper in Greece duringthe 6th century BC. The Greeks used a range of differentmasks, each of which represented a particular set of characteristics,such as sex, age, and emotion. Masks also allowed one actor to playseveral roles and may have assisted voice projection. Made of paintedwood, linen, and leather, the masks used by the Greeks included falsehair to cover the head and such details as beards and jewellery. Whenactors portrayed well-known Athenians, 'portrait masks' were worn.

    Masks were also worn in the early Roman theater. The Latinword persona, meaning mask, came to mean a dramatic role andstill appears in this sense in the term dramatis personae.The Roman masks for mime had closed mouths and as this formof drama became increasingly popular, masks were often dispensed with.

    In later European theater masks have been the exception ratherthan the rule. In mystery plays golden masks were used torepresent God and his archangels. 'Visors' were often worn in theTudor and Stuart masques. The characters of the commediadell'arte wore small black 'cat-masks' that only covered theupper part of the face.

    In modern Western theater masks are usually only worn to createa specific dramatic effect. Modern playwrights to use masks have includedEugene O'Neill, W. B. Yeats, Bertolt Brecht,and John Arden. Masks are an important feature of the orientalstage, as in the Japanese Nō drama.

Origin & History of “mask”

Mask may be of Arabic origin. The word maskharah ‘buffoon’ has been postulated as the source of Italian maschera, from which, via French masque, English got mask. In modern English, the word is largely restricted to ‘face covering’, but a range of other senses developed during the 16th and 17th centuries, including ‘masked ball’ and ‘allegorical dramatic entertainment’, which are now lumped together under the French spelling masque. The derivative masquerade (16th c.) was borrowed from French mascarade, with the spelling of masque later grafted on to it.