any full or partial face covering, whether ceremonial, protective, decorative, or used as disguise

A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes. Though usually worn on the face they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer's body.

Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them — the one, in fact, which is not a mask. ~ W. H. Auden
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ~ Oscar Wilde
Fire is to represent truth because it destroys all sophistry and lies; and the mask is for lying and falsehood which conceal truth. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Where you going for tomorrow, where're you going with the mask I found? ~ Scott Weiland
Why are masks so menacing? It has to do with psychology and the fear of anonymous death. For many people, the idea of being murdered by an unidentifiable stranger for no reason is more terrifying than being killed by someone you do know, and for some good reason. ~ Benjamin Radford


  • Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them — the one, in fact, which is not a mask.
    • W. H. Auden, Forewords and Afterwords, "One of the Family", p. 369 (1973).
  • One thinker no less brilliant than the heresiarch himself, but in the orthodox tradition, advanced a most daring hypothesis. This felicitous supposition declared that there is only one Individual, and that this indivisible Individual is every one of the separate beings in the universe, and that those beings are the instruments and masks of divinity itself.
    • Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (1940), first translated into English by James E. Irby (1961).
    • Variant translation: This happy conjecture affirmed that there is only one subject, that this indivisible subject is every being in the universe and that these beings are the organs and masks of the divinity
  • Every one who, with intent to commit an indictable offence, has his face masked or coloured or is otherwise disguised is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
  • We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
         We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
         We wear the mask!

  • If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?
  • A few years ago, very few teenagers wore masks. But many wear them today and the numbers are increasingly very rapidly. The reason is that these teenagers are looking for something to hide behind. They are constantly having to communicate with friends via SMS and emails and this is making them so tired that it is a relief to wear a masks. It is a way to hide their feelings.
  • Your occupation consists in preserving your hiding-place, and that you succeed in doing, for your mask is the most enigmatical of all. In fact you are nothing; you are merely a relation to others, and what you are you are by virtue of this relation. To a fond shepherdess you hold out a languishing hand, and instantly you are masked in all possible bucolic sentimentality. A reverend spiritual father you deceive with a brotherly kiss, etc. You yourself are nothing, an enigmatic figure on whose brow is inscribed Either/or – “For this,” you say, “is my motto, and these words are not, as the grammarians believe, disjunctive conjunctions; no, they belong inseparably together and therefore ought to be written as one word…"
  • It's a terrible thing to be alone — yes it is — it is — but don't lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath — as terrible as you like — but a mask.
    • Katherine Mansfield, in a letter to her future husband, John Middleton Murry (July 1917), published in The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Vol. I.
  • All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask.
  • Beneath this mask there is more than flesh... beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy... and ideas are bulletproof.
  • Where you going for tomorrow, where're you going with the mask I found?
  • To perceive pure love that is God, you have to unmask your heart, unmask your soul, unmask the purity of your being.
  •   Encyclopedic article on Mask on Wikipedia
  •   The dictionary definition of mask on Wiktionary