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.
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.
"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.
1560s, "to take part in a masquerade" (a sense now obsolete); 1580s as "to wear a mask," also "disguise (feelings, etc.) under an assumed outward show;" from mask (n.) and French masquer. Military sense of "conceal" (a battery, etc.) from the view of the enemy" is from 1706. Related: Masked; masking. Masking tape recorded from 1927; so called because it is used to block out certain surfaces before painting.