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white +‎ face


whiteface (countable and uncountable, plural whitefaces)

  1. (uncountable) Makeup that makes the face appear white.
    Whiteface is sometimes worn by clowns and mimes, or in the Gothic subculture.
  2. (countable) Any bird of the genus Aphelocephala.
  3. A Hereford cow.
  4. (countable, slang) A person of European descent. (See usage notes.)
    • 2007 December 10, Janet Maslin, “Cop's Wife Spiraling Out of Control in Chicago”, in New York Times[1]:
      Craig has gotten himself entree into a dangerous Chinatown card game, where he is playing the role of the malleable whiteface, the unlucky Irishman known as Mickey in order to infiltrate the drug-dealing operations of Asian gang members.
  5. (countable) A traditional clown who ranks above the auguste.

Usage notes[edit]

The "white person" sense is rarely used directly; instead, it is found chiefly in reported or fictional speech, where it is ascribed to non-white characters, often as a way of establishing them as primitives.


Related terms[edit]