Word of the Day

mask up

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


to wear a mask or face covering

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The phrasal verb mask up is formed from the verb ‘mask’ and the adverb ‘up’.


A feature of English is the ease with which new phrasal verbs are formed. Although mask up isn’t new, you may have seen it around quite a bit recently. Mask up, like suit up or ‘gown up’, implies preparation for some particular activity, the ‘up’ part occurring in many phrasal verbs that indicate getting ready for something. While mask up used to be used mostly to refer to someone putting on mask either for work or in order to disguise their identity, these days it is more likely to mean the action of putting on a mask when going into a public place in order to reduce the risk of infection to yourself and others. Mask up is a recent entry in our crowdsourced Open Dictionary. If you know a word or phrase that is in general use but not yet in our dictionary you can submit it here.


There was a fair size crew of anarchists kitted up in black and masked up or ready to mask up.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Remember to hydrate yourself often, mask up on bad hazy days and stay healthy & safe!
(enTenTen15 corpus)

That’s why we are asking all Hoosiers to mask up — and speak up about how wearing your mask can save lives.
(Indiana State Department of Health)

Related words

face mask, guard, shield

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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