from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To place something upon or over, so as to protect or conceal.
  • intransitive verb To overlay or spread with something.
  • intransitive verb To put a cover or covering on.
  • intransitive verb To hide or screen from view or knowledge; conceal. Often used with up:
  • intransitive verb To do something that gains for (oneself) a quality or association.
  • intransitive verb To be spread over the surface of.
  • intransitive verb To lie over or adhere to so as to protect or conceal.
  • intransitive verb To extend over.
  • intransitive verb To travel or pass over.
  • intransitive verb To have as one's territory or sphere of work.
  • intransitive verb To protect from loss. Used of insurance.
  • intransitive verb To take measures to prevent (oneself) from being held responsible for something.
  • intransitive verb To be enough to pay for or make up for.
  • intransitive verb To have as a subject; deal with.
  • intransitive verb To be responsible for reporting the details of (an event or situation).
  • intransitive verb To apply to or take into account.
  • intransitive verb To protect by having within range or by firing a weapon.
  • intransitive verb To aim a firearm at.
  • intransitive verb To guard (an opponent playing offense).
  • intransitive verb To defend (a position or area).
  • intransitive verb To match (an opponent's stake) in a wager.
  • intransitive verb To purchase (stock that one has shorted).
  • intransitive verb Games To play a higher-ranking card than (the one previously played).
  • intransitive verb Music To record a cover version of (a song).
  • intransitive verb To copulate with (a female). Used especially of horses.
  • intransitive verb To spread over a surface to protect or conceal something.
  • intransitive verb To act as a substitute or replacement during someone's absence.
  • intransitive verb To hide something in order to save someone from censure or punishment.
  • intransitive verb Games To play a higher card than the one previously played.
  • noun Something that covers or is laid, placed, or spread over or upon something else, as.
  • noun A lid or top.
  • noun A binding or outer part for a book or magazine.
  • noun A bedcover.
  • noun A protective overlay, as for a mattress or furniture.
  • noun Shelter or protection.
  • noun Strategic protection given by armed units during hostile action.
  • noun Something, such as vegetation, covering the surface of the ground.
  • noun Vegetation, such as underbrush, serving as protective concealment for wild animals.
  • noun Something, such as darkness, that screens, conceals, or disguises. synonym: shelter.


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- 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").


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