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Alternative forms[edit]


From un- +‎ mask.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʌnˈmæsk/, /ʌnˈmɑːsk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ʌnˈmæsk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æsk


unmask (third-person singular simple present unmasks, present participle unmasking, simple past and past participle unmasked)

  1. (transitive) To remove a mask from someone.
  2. (transitive) To expose, or reveal the true character of someone.
  3. (intransitive) To remove one's mask.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      But instead of a direct answer to so important a question, Jones began to be very importunate with the lady to unmask; and at length having prevailed, there appeared not Mrs Fitzpatrick, but the Lady Bellaston herself.
  4. (intransitive) To cease engaging in masking, to cease disguising one's autism.
    • 2019, Sarah Cobbe, Simple Autism Strategies for Home and School: Practical Tips, Resources and Poetry, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, →ISBN, page 49:
      [] to unmask and to assume her 'natural' role (rather than her 'fitting in' role).
    • 2019, Barry Carpenter, Francesca Happé, Jo Egerton, Girls and Autism: Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives, Routledge, →ISBN, page 172:
      Autistic females are trying to adhere to social expectations placed upon them, and masking and blending to fit those expectations, [] How do you unmask when you have spent a [long time masking].
  5. (transitive, military, dated) To expose something that was concealed or shielded from an enemy.
    • 1893, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, Hannibal: a History of the Art of War Among the Carthaginians and Romans [] , page 156:
      He recalled his horse. This, retiring, unmasked the heavy infantry, which Hannibal called in from either flank and sent with a vigorous élan in close column across the ford against the ill-arrayed barbarians, followed by the cavalry, which had formed again in its rear.
    • 2021, Stephen R. Wise, “To Capture an Island: Amphibious Operations in the Department of the South, 1861–1863”, in Theodore P. Savas, editor, Charleston: Battles and Seacoast Operations, page 10:
      In less than an hour the batteries were unmasked. The Confederate works were visible and at 5:08 a.m., Seymour ordered the batteries to commence firing.
  6. (transitive, computing) To enable (an interrupt, etc.) by unsetting or setting the associated bit.