Etymology
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masque (n.)

"masquerade, masked ball, festive entertainment in which participants wear a disguising costume," 1510s, from French masque; see mask (n.). It developed a special sense of "amateur theatrical performance" (1560s) in Elizabethan times, when such entertainments (originally performed in masks) were popular among the nobility.

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muskellunge (n.)

"large North American pike," 1789, from Algonquian (Ojibwa) maashkinoozhe; the second element is kinoozhe "pike;" the first is either mac "great," maazh- "similar to," or maazh- "ugly." Altered by French folk etymology as masque allongé "long mask." Called muskie for short (1889).

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masquerade (v.)

1650s, "to wear a mask, to take part in a masquerade" (now archaic or obsolete), also transitive, "to cover with a mask or disguise;" from masquerade (n.). Related: Masqueraded; masquerader; masquerading.

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masquerade (n.)

1590s, "assembly of persons wearing masks and usually other disguises," from French mascarade or Spanish mascarada "masked party or dance," from Italian mascarata "a ball at which masks are worn," variant of mascherata "masquerade," from maschera (see mask (n.)).

Extended sense of "disguise in general, concealment or apparent change of identity by any means" is from 1660s; figurative sense of "false outward show" is from 1670s.

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mask (n.)

1530s, "a cover for the face (with openings for the eyes and mouth), a false face," from French masque "covering to hide or guard the face" (16c.), from Italian maschera, from Medieval Latin masca "mask, specter, nightmare," a word of uncertain origin.

It is perhaps from Arabic maskharah "buffoon, mockery," from sakhira "be mocked, ridiculed." Or it may come via Provençal mascarar, Catalan mascarar, Old French mascurer "to black (the face)," which is perhaps from a Germanic source akin to English mesh (q.v.). But it may be a Provençal word originally: Compare Occitan mascara "to blacken, darken," derived from mask- "black," which is held to be from a pre-Indo-European language, and Old Occitan masco "witch," surviving in dialects; in Beziers it means "dark cloud before the rain comes." [See Walther von Wartburg, "Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch: Eine Darstellung galloromanischen sprachschatzes"].

Figurative meaning "anything used or practiced for disguise or concealment" is by 1570s.

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