There’s nothing incredibly surprising about the history and etymology of disguise, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, in honor of the release of A Beautiful Disguise. 😉
Disguise is quite simply a combination of the French guise (appearance) and des (away or off). Granted, the word guise on its own isn’t as common as it used to be, but I imagine most of us have heard or read it somewhere, so as soon you break it down, you go, “Oh yeah, of course!”
Since the word entered English in the 1300s, it’s meant “to change one’s appearance with the intent to deceive.”
What I find interesting is that there’s a sense of the word that’s fallen out of use that focuses on the thing used to disguise, one of the most popular phrases of old being “to disguise with liquor,” for when one’s personality is changed because of intoxication.
You know, other than for costume events and plays, I don’t think I’ve ever donned a disguise. How about you?