verb (used with object), dis·guised, dis·guis·ing.

  1. to change the appearance or guise of so as to conceal identity or mislead, as by means of deceptive garb: The king was disguised as a peasant.
  2. to conceal or cover up the truth or actual character of by a counterfeit form or appearance; misrepresent: to disguise one’s intentions.


  1. that which disguises; something that serves or is intended for concealment of identity, character, or quality; a deceptive covering, condition, manner, etc.: Noble words can be the disguise of base intentions.
  2. the makeup, mask, costume, or overall changed appearance of an entertainer: a clown’s disguise.
  3. the act of disguising: to speak without disguise.
  4. the state of being disguised; masquerade: The gods appeared in disguise.


  1. to modify the appearance or manner in order to conceal the identity of (oneself, someone, or something)
  2. (tr) to misrepresent in order to obscure the actual nature or meaningto disguise the facts


  1. a mask, costume, or manner that disguises
  2. the act of disguising or the state of being disguised

c.1300, from Old French desguiser (11c.) “disguise, change one’s appearance,” from des- “away, off” (see dis-) + guise “style, appearance” (see guise). Originally primarily “to put out of one’s usual manner” (of dress, etc.). Oldest sense preserved in phrase disguised with liquor (1560s).

It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety. [Thomas de Quincy, “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” 1856]

Related: Disguised; disguising.


c.1400, “strange style of dress” (especially one meant to deceive), from disguise (v.).

see blessing in disguise.

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