from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To place something upon or over, so as to protect or conceal.
  • transitive v. To overlay or spread with something: cover potatoes with gravy.
  • transitive v. To put a cover or covering on.
  • transitive v. To wrap up; clothe.
  • transitive v. To invest (oneself) with a great deal of something: covered themselves with glory.
  • transitive v. To spread over the surface of: Dust covered the table. Snow covered the ground.
  • transitive v. To extend over: a farm covering more than 100 acres.
  • transitive v. To copulate with (a female). Used especially of horses.
  • transitive v. To sit on in order to hatch.
  • transitive v. To hide or screen from view or knowledge; conceal: covered up his misdemeanors.
  • transitive v. To protect or shield from harm, loss, or danger.
  • transitive v. To protect by insurance: took out a new policy that will cover all our camera equipment.
  • transitive v. To compensate or make up for.
  • transitive v. To be sufficient to defray, meet, or offset the cost or charge of: had enough funds to cover her check.
  • transitive v. To make provision for; take into account: The law does not cover all crimes.
  • transitive v. To deal with; treat of: The book covers the feminist movement.
  • transitive v. To travel or pass over; traverse: They covered 60 miles in two days.
  • transitive v. To have as one's territory or sphere of work.
  • transitive v. To be responsible for reporting the details of (an event or situation): Two reporters covered the news story.
  • transitive v. To hold within the range and aim of a weapon, such as a firearm.
  • transitive v. To protect, as from enemy attack, by occupying a strategic position.
  • transitive v. Sports To guard (an opponent playing offense).
  • transitive v. Sports To defend (a position or area): cover third base; cover the backcourt.
  • transitive v. To match (an opponent's stake) in a wager.
  • transitive v. To purchase (stock that one has shorted).
  • transitive v. Games To play a higher-ranking card than (the one previously played).
  • transitive v. Music To record a cover version of (a song).
  • transitive v. Obsolete To pardon or remit.
  • intransitive v. To spread over a surface to protect or conceal something: a paint that covers well.
  • intransitive v. To act as a substitute or replacement during someone's absence: Her assistant covered for her.
  • intransitive v. To hide something in order to save someone from censure or punishment: cover up for a colleague.
  • intransitive v. Games To play a higher card than the one previously played.
  • n. Something that covers or is laid, placed, or spread over or upon something else, as:
  • n. A lid or top.
  • n. A binding or enclosure for a book or magazine.
  • n. A bedcover.
  • n. A protective overlay, as for a mattress or furniture.
  • n. Something that provides shelter.
  • n. Strategic protection given by armed units during hostile action: The battleship approached the combat zone under a cover of fighter planes.
  • n. Something, such as vegetation, covering the surface of the ground.
  • n. Vegetation, such as underbrush, serving as protective concealment for wild animals.
  • n. A layer of clouds obscuring the sky or ground.
  • n. Something, such as darkness, that screens, conceals, or disguises. See Synonyms at shelter.
  • n. A false background and identity, especially for a spy.
  • n. A table setting for one person: Covers were laid for ten.
  • n. A cover charge.
  • n. An envelope or wrapper for mail.
  • n. Funds sufficient to meet an obligation or secure against loss.
  • n. One who substitutes for another.
  • n. Music A cover version.
  • idiom cover (one's) ass Vulgar Slang To take measures to avoid being held responsible if something goes wrong.
  • idiom cover (one's) tracks To conceal traces so as to elude pursuers.
  • idiom cover (the) ground To traverse a given distance with satisfying speed.
  • idiom cover (the) ground To deal with or accomplish something in a certain manner: The history course covered a lot of ground in six weeks.
  • idiom take cover To seek concealment or protection, as from enemy fire.
  • idiom under cover In an enclosure for mailing.
  • idiom under cover Being hidden or protected, as by darkness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lid.
  • n. A hiding from view.
  • n. A front and back of a book or magazine.
  • n. A top sheet of a bed.
  • n. A cover charge.
  • n. A setting at a restaurant table or formal dinner.
  • n. A rerecording of a previously recorded song; a cover version; a cover song.
  • n. A fielding position on the off side, between point and mid off, about 30° forward of square; a fielder in this position.
  • n. A set (more often known as a family) of sets, whose union contains the given set.
  • n. An envelope complete with stamps and postmarks etc.
  • n. A solid object, including terrain, that provides protection from enemy fire.
  • n. In commercial law, a buyer’s purchase on the open market of goods similar or identical to the goods contracted for after a seller has breached a contract of sale by failure to deliver the goods contracted for.
  • n. An insurance contract; coverage by an insurance contract.
  • n. A persona maintained by a spy or undercover operative, cover story
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the front cover of a book or magazine.
  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or consisting of cover versions.
  • v. To place something over or upon, as to conceal or protect.
  • v. To be over or upon, as to conceal or protect.
  • v. To be upon all of, so as to completely conceal.
  • v. To set upon all of, so as to completely conceal.
  • v. To discuss thoroughly, to provide good coverage of.
  • v. To deal with
  • v. To be enough money for.
  • v. To act as a replacement.
  • v. To have as an assignment or responsibility.
  • v. To make a cover version of (a song that was originally recorded by another artist).
  • v. To protect using an aimed firearm and the threat of firing; or to protect using continuous, heaving fire at or in the direction of the enemy so as to force the enemy to remain in cover; or to threaten using an aimed firearm.
  • v. To provide insurance coverage for.
  • v. To copulate with (said of certain male animals such as dogs and horses).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything which is laid, set, or spread, upon, about, or over, another thing; an envelope; a lid.
  • n. Anything which veils or conceals; a screen; disguise; a cloak.
  • n. Shelter; protection.
  • n. The woods, underbrush, etc., which shelter and conceal game; covert.
  • n. The lap of a slide valve.
  • n. A tablecloth, and the other table furniture; esp., the table furniture for the use of one person at a meal.
  • intransitive v. To spread a table for a meal; to prepare a banquet.
  • transitive v. To overspread the surface of (one thing) with another.
  • transitive v. To envelop; to clothe, as with a mantle or cloak.
  • transitive v. To invest (one's self with something); to bring upon (one's self).
  • transitive v. To hide sight; to conceal; to cloak.
  • transitive v. To brood or sit on; to incubate.
  • transitive v. To shelter, as from evil or danger; to protect; to defend.
  • transitive v. To remove from remembrance; to put away; to remit.
  • transitive v. To extend over; to be sufficient for; to comprehend, include, or embrace; to account for or solve; to counterbalance.
  • transitive v. To put the usual covering or headdress on.
  • transitive v. To copulate with (a female); to serve; ; -- said of the male.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put something over or upon so as to protect, shut in, or conceal; overlay; overspread or envelop with something; specifically, to put a cover or covering (designed for the purpose) upon: as, to cover a dish; to cover a chair with plush; to cover a table with a cloth; to cover the body with clothes.
  • To hide or screen as by something overspread or intervening, either literally or figuratively; cause to be invisible or unobserved; put out of sight or consideration: as, the top of the mountain was covered by a cloud; they sought to cover their guilt: often followed by up: as, the thieves covered up their tracks.
  • To pardon or remit: a scriptural use.
  • Reflexively and figuratively, to invest or overspread (one's self or one's reputation with): as, he covered himself with glory.
  • To shelter; protect; defend: as, a squadron of horse covered the retreat.
  • To put the usual head-covering on; replace the hat on.
  • To travel or pass over; move through: as, the express covered the distance in fifteen minutes.
  • To copulate with: said of male animals.
  • To be equal to; be of the same extent or amount; be coextensive with; be equivalent to: as, the receipts do not cover the expenses.
  • To include, embrace, or comprehend: as, an offense not covered by any statute; the explanation does not cover all the facts of the case.
  • To aim at directly; bring into effective range and aim, as of a rifle or other firearm: as, he covered the thief with his pistol; hence, to command, in a military sense: occupy a commanding position with regard to.
  • To brood or sit on, as a hen on eggs or chicks.
  • To counterbalance; compensate for: as, to cover one's loss.
  • To contain; comprise.
  • In architecture, a recess left in a brick or stone wall to receive the roofing. Gwilt. Also covert-way.
  • To envelop or be spread over something so that it is invisible: specifically said of opaque paints (those having “body”), which readily conceal the material upon which they are spread.
  • To lay a table for a meal; prepare a banquet.
  • To put one's hat on.
  • To gain; win; get; obtain.
  • To restore; recover; heal; cure.
  • To get on; advance.
  • To recover; get well.
  • In hockey, basket-ball, and other sports, to stand by the side of or in front of (an opponent), so as to render it impossible for him to make a play.
  • In cricket, to field; to catch or stop (the ball) and return it.
  • In card-playing, to play a higher card on a card led or played, when the higher card is not the best of the suit: as, queen on jack, when the ace and king have not yet boon played.
  • n. Something which is laid, placed, or spread over or upon another thing to inclose, close, envelop, or protect it: as, the cover of a box or a dish; the cover of a bed; the cover of a book.
  • n. Something which veils, screens, or shuts from sight; an obstruction to vision or perception; a concealment; a screen; a disguise: as, to address a letter under cover to another person; he assumed the disguise of a merchant as a cover for his design.
  • n. Shelter of any kind; defense, as against the weather or an enemy; protection: as, the troops fought under cover of the batteries.
  • n. Shrubbery, woods, thicket, underbrush, etc., which shelter and conceal game: as, to beat a cover; to ride to cover.
  • n. In roofing, that part of a slate, tile, or shingle which is covered by the overlap of the course above.
  • n. [Cf. F. couvert, with same sense: see couvert.] The utensils, such as plate, knives, forks, spoons, napkin, wine-glasses, etc., required at table by one person: so called because originally brought together in a case, or in compact form, for transportation, traveling, or the like: as, the traveling cover of King George IV. in the Jones collection at South Kensington; to lay a cover.
  • n. The cap-head or end-piece of an upright steam-cylinder.
  • n. In cricket, cover-point; a fielder who stands behind point, and more in the direction of the bowler; also, his position in the field.
  • n. In calico-printing, a fine pattern engraved on a roller to be printed over a pattern in resist.
  • n. In making a butt-joint in riveted work with plates, the lap-piece which covers the joint and is riveted to the butting edges. The double butt-joint has an outer and an inner cover-plate.
  • n. The ordinary measure of land in South Wales, two thirds of an imperial acre.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to take an action to protect against future problems
  • v. spread over a surface to conceal or protect
  • n. a fixed charge by a restaurant or nightclub over and above the charge for food and drink
  • v. invest with a large or excessive amount of something
  • v. be responsible for reporting the details of, as in journalism
  • v. maintain a check on; especially by patrolling
  • v. clothe, as if for protection from the elements
  • v. copulate with a female, used especially of horses
  • v. be sufficient to meet, defray, or offset the charge or cost of
  • v. act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression
  • v. sit on (eggs)
  • v. play a higher card than the one previously played
  • v. span an interval of distance, space or time
  • v. put something on top of something else
  • v. be responsible for guarding an opponent in a game
  • v. provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  • v. make up for shortcomings or a feeling of inferiority by exaggerating good qualities
  • v. include in scope; include as part of something broader; have as one's sphere or territory
  • v. form a cover over
  • n. bedding that keeps a person warm in bed
  • v. hide from view or knowledge
  • n. a covering that serves to conceal or shelter something
  • v. provide for
  • v. travel across or pass over
  • n. fire that makes it difficult for the enemy to fire on your own individuals or formations
  • n. covering for a hole (especially a hole in the top of a container)
  • n. the act of concealing the existence of something by obstructing the view of it
  • n. a false identity and background (especially one created for an undercover agent)
  • v. protect by insurance
  • n. a natural object that covers or envelops
  • v. help out by taking someone's place and temporarily assuming his responsibilities
  • v. cover as if with a shroud
  • v. hold within range of an aimed firearm
  • n. a recording of a song that was first recorded or made popular by somebody else
  • n. the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book
  • v. protect or defend (a position in a game)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English coveren, from Old French covrir, from Latin cooperīre, to cover completely : co-, intensive pref.; see co- + operīre, to cover; see wer-4 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English coveren, from Old French covrir, cueuvrir (Modern French couvrir) from Late Latin coperire from Latin cooperire ("to cover completely"), from co-, intensive prefix, + operire "to close, cover". Displaced native Middle English thecchen and bethecchen ("to cover") (from Old English þeccan, beþeccan ("to cover")), Middle English helen, (over)helen, (for)helen ("to cover, conceal") (from Old English helan ("to conceal, cover, hide")), Middle English wrien, (be)wreon ("to cover") (from Old English (be)wrēon ("to cover")), Middle English hodren, hothren ("to cover up") (from Low German hudren "to cover up").


  • I don't post about cover art very often, since the bloggers who do..cover it pun intended better than I could.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • I would buy it for the cover alone, though I know the story would be worth the money, too. *returns to staring at cover*

    Ann Aguirre » Blog Archive » Blue Diablo UK cover

  • Have had it for 1 week now and never out of the house - just noticed a slight rattle from the LHS of battery or battery cover on lower side - have not had battery out so don't know if it's a battery cover or combined cover+ battery.

    Discussions: Message List - root

  • The secret to catching big bass in cover is to fish in and around the heaviest stuff with a large lure, and work the lure so it causes a commotion in the weedbeds and is easy for the fish to find.

    How I Fish: Doug Hannon

  • Other patents that feature his name cover the designs of distinctive Apple products such as the iMac, the iPad and the iPhone.

    Controversy Surrounded Jobs's Innovations

  • The Jordan cover fits the mood perfectly of the book and the Martin cover is very atmospheric.

    Book Cover Smackdown! 'The Shadow Rising' vs. 'A Game of Thrones' (French)

  • The Pulp of the Day blog uploads a new scanned-in cover from a classic pulp magazine or novel every day.

    Boing Boing

  • It's the title cover from an online computer game called "Anarchy Online" that I ...

    Rad Geek People’s Daily – 2009 – January – 03

  • Strung together across his back, the letters of his name cover nearly every inch of his No. Top Stories

  • The title cover of Laura's inspiring and beautifully bound book, "All is Well," along with its contents of brilliant and contemplative photographs depicting all forms of nature captured with the lens of her eye, and so eloquently matched with the thoughts and sayings of many wise spiritual teachers, most assuredly captivated my heart and soul in a myriad of ways.

    No Safe Distance


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Unfortunately.

    November 10, 2009

  • It's pretty obvious to most people that society's attitude to 'cover' has changed substantially in the last three decades.

    November 10, 2009

  • “FOR nearly three decades, I’ve felt conflicted about presidential salutes. After all, my United States Marine Corps instructors drilled into me the idea that “you never salute without a cover�? which, in civilian, meant without a hat.�?

    The New York Times, A Final Verdict on the Presidential Salute, by Carey Winfrey, October 31, 2009

    November 10, 2009

  • In stamp collecting, an envelope that has been sent through the mail.

    August 25, 2008