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What word best describes a person who is deceitful and very complicated to understand? As they say, he wears several masks.

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    There are probably many ways to describe such a person, but I might start with enigmatic or mysterious.
    – J.R.
    Jun 28, 2012 at 18:11
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    Wearing several masks and being very complicated to understand are two very different things. Clarify, please.
    – CesarGon
    Jun 28, 2012 at 19:36
  • @J.R.: "That's his power? He's mysterious?"
    – chaos
    Jun 28, 2012 at 20:32
  • @chaos: I made my initial comment before the question was edited, when it asked for ways to describe "a person who is not straightforward but very complicated as he wears several masks." I also initially missed your cultural reference, but I got it now :^)
    – J.R.
    Jun 29, 2012 at 0:29

4 Answers 4

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Some words related to deceitful are duplicitous ("Given to or marked by deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech"), double dealing ("Cheating, dishonest; treacherous"), and aforementioned two-faced ("deceitful, hypocritical or duplicitous"). Analogous to previously-mentioned multifaceted is many-sided, meaning "Having many aspects".

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The common English idiom nearest to your meaning is to speak of such a person as two-faced, though this strictly means someone is deceitful. To describe someone who is complex and hard to understand without implying deceitfulness, we might call them multifaceted.

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Wearing several masks and being very complicated to understand are two very different things.

If you are after a word to describe someone who is very complicated to understand because they change often, then I like fickle or, perhaps a bit more metaphorically, volatile.

For someone who wears several masks, there are other answers on this page which I quite like.

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You may say the person has multiple personalities, or is dissociated. If the person changes according to the ambience you could call him/her "chameleon".

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  • Voluble most commonly means "fluent or having a ready flow of speech", and while it has a couple of rare senses that might apply, I suspect you mean volatile, meaning "fickle" or "temporary or ephemeral". Jun 28, 2012 at 20:44
  • @jwpat7 I guess you are right, though it seems that 'voluble' may be used in the sense of something that changes easily, there was some confusion between dictionaries (portuguese-english), as the words "voluble" and "volúvel" share the meaning of "turning easily on an axis", the portuguese word does not mean "fluent" and mostly means "unstable, inconstant". Thanks.
    – Tames
    Jun 28, 2012 at 22:32

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