Baldfaced, Boldfaced and Barefaced

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How to use the words Baldfaced, Boldfaced and Barefaced?

The only one of these spellings recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary as meaning “shameless” is “barefaced.”

Etymologies often refer to the prevalence of beards among Renaissance Englishmen, but beards were probably too common to be considered as deceptively concealing.

It seems more likely that the term derived from the widespread custom at that time among the upper classes of wearing masks to social occasions where one would rather not be recognized.

Common Errors Index

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