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Mask, subst. 1) a cover for the face (used by the poet only in speaking of women; cf. Vizard); worn to preserve the complexion: “her sun-expelling m.” Gent. IV, 4, 158. “my m., to defend my beauty,” Troil. I, 2, 286. “with faces fit for --s, or rather fairer than those for preservation cased, or shame,” Cymb. V, 3, 21. cf. LLL II, 124. V, 2, 245. Wint. IV, 4, 223. Oth. IV, 2, 9. Black masks worn by ladies at the theatres: “as these black --s proclaim an enshield beauty,” Meas. II, 4, 79. “these happy --s that kiss fair ladies' brows being black put us in mind they hide the fair,” Rom. I, 1, 236. Masks worn by players performing a woman's part: “let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming. That's all one: you shall play it in a m.” Mids. I, 2, 52.
Metaphorically, applied to men as well as women: “stain my favours in a bloody m.” H4A III, 2, 136. “death put on his ugliest m.” H4B I, 1, 66. “thou knowest the m. of night is on my face,” Rom. II, 2, 85.
2) a diversion or procession in which the company wear masks, a masquerade: “revels, dances, --s,” LLL IV, 3, 379. “what --s, what dances,” Mids. V, 32. “will you prepare you for this m. to-night,” Merch. II, 4, 23. II, 5, 23. II, 5, 23 II, 6, 64. Tw. I, 3, 121. John V, 2, 132. H8 I, 1, 26. Troil. I, 3, 84. Rom. I, 4, 48. I, 5, 35.
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