from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dramatic entertainment, usually performed by masked players representing mythological or allegorical figures, that was popular in England in the 1500s and early 1600s.
  • noun A dramatic verse composition written for such an entertainment.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • See mask.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A mask; a masquerade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun archaic (in 16th-17th Century England & Europe) A dramatic performance, often performed at court as a royal entertainment, consisting of dancing, dialogue, pantomime and song.
  • noun archaic Words and music written for a masque.
  • noun archaic A shortening of the word masquerade.
  • noun Archaic form of mask.
  • verb Archaic form of mask.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a party of guests wearing costumes and masks


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French; see mask.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French masque.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word masque.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A spectacular indoor performance combining poetic drama, music, dance, song, lavish costume and costly stage effects favored by European royalty in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Disguised members of the court played the roles of mythological characters and enacted simple allegorical plots. At the end of the performance, the cast would remove their masks and dance with members of the audience.

    See anti-masque.

    September 18, 2009

  • Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Masque of the Red Death" was one of my favorites in school.

    September 18, 2009

  • When Britain first, at heavens's command,

    Arose from out the azure main,

    This was the charter of the land,

    And guardian angels sung this strain:

    "Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;

    Britons never will be slaves."

    from Alfred: A Masque by James Thomson (1700-1748)

    September 25, 2009