cov·​e·​nant | \ ˈkəv-nənt How to pronounce covenant (audio) , ˈkə-və- \

Definition of covenant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : compact … international law, which depends upon the sanctity of covenants between rulers.— George H. Sabine
2a : a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action the deed conveying the land contained restrictive covenants
b : the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract


cov·​e·​nant | \ ˈkəv-nənt How to pronounce covenant (audio) , -ˌnant, ˈkə-və- \
covenanted; covenanting; covenants

Definition of covenant (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to promise by a covenant : pledge

intransitive verb

: to enter into a covenant : contract

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from covenant


covenantal \ ˌkə-​və-​ˈnan-​tᵊl How to pronounce covenant (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for covenant

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of covenant in a Sentence

Noun an international covenant on human rights The restrictive covenants of the building development prohibit the construction of buildings over 30 feet tall. Verb a traditional rule held that a husband could not enter into a covenant with his wife, because that was the equivalent of covenanting with himself the home buyers had to covenant that they would restore and keep the house for at least 10 years in exchange for a low mortgage rate
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The married woman, and married man, then sealed their new covenant with a kiss. New York Times, "After Two Dating Apps and 98 First Dates, Something Was Different About the 99th," 29 Jan. 2021 In the biblical story of Mary of Bethany, which relates her plea to Jesus to raise her brother Lazarus from the dead, the song includes a famous chorus invoking God’s covenant to Noah after the Great Flood. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: The symbolism in the Biden inaugural painting by Robert S. Duncanson," 20 Jan. 2021 Officials in River Forest took part in a Black Lives Matter march on June 14, and the village later approved a twin village covenant with neighboring Maywood in hopes of increasing collaboration between the municipalities. Steve Schering,, "Coronavirus, public protests lead top news stories of 2020 for Oak Park, River Forest," 28 Dec. 2020 Together, land and children are the foundation of the covenant. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Vayeishev parsha: The best model of nation is family," 8 Dec. 2020 Trump’s accomplishments fall into two categories: constitutional wins (dealing with how America’s governing covenant is interpreted and applied) and post-constitutional wins (succeeding in the rough-and-tumble melee of partisan politics). Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of November 30," 4 Dec. 2020 More generally the Torah may wish to stress that Yitzchak deserves to perpetuate the covenant given to his father Avraham because Yitzchak was most similar to him. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Toldot parsha: The challenge of parenting," 16 Nov. 2020 After months of claiming Clarida was not a tenant and that their covenant was not a lease, the nonprofit had formally filed an eviction notice in landlord-tenant court. Washington Post, "Domestic violence survivors say they were kicked out by the housing program that promised to help them," 30 Oct. 2020 This covenant is a formal pledge to remain a member for life, following its authority structures, religious beliefs and expectations for service or charitable activities. Joanne M. Pierce, The Conversation, "The history of oath ceremonies and why they matter when taking office," 19 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb USA TODAY NETWORK LOS ANGELES — Alien: Covenant edged out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in a weekend space battle at the box office. Sandy Cohen, USA TODAY, "'Alien: Covenant' edges out 'Guardians 2' at weekend box office with $36M," 21 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'covenant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of covenant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for covenant

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from present participle of covenir to be fitting, from Latin convenire

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about covenant

Time Traveler for covenant

Time Traveler

The first known use of covenant was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for covenant

Last Updated

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Covenant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for covenant



English Language Learners Definition of covenant

formal : a formal and serious agreement or promise
law : a formal written agreement between two or more people, businesses, countries, etc.


cov·​e·​nant | \ ˈkə-və-nənt How to pronounce covenant (audio) \

Kids Definition of covenant

: a formal or serious agreement or promise the covenant of marriage


cov·​e·​nant | \ ˈkə-və-nənt How to pronounce covenant (audio) \

Legal Definition of covenant

1 : an official agreement or compact an international covenant on human rights
2a : a contract in its entirety or a promise within a contract for the performance or nonperformance of a particular act a covenant not to sue specifically : a promise relating to the transfer, possession, or ownership of real property — see also covenant not to compete, restrictive covenant
b : a warranty in a deed assuring the grantee especially against defects in title a covenant for quiet enjoyment — see also run
3 : a common-law action to recover damages for breach of a contract under seal — compare assumpsit, debt

Other Words from covenant

covenant verb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on covenant

What made you want to look up covenant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!