covenant

noun
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

covenant

verb
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

Noun

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for covenant

Synonyms: Noun

accord, alliance, compact, convention, pact, treaty

Synonyms: Verb

agree, bargain, contract

Antonyms: Verb

disagree

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

Electric truck and drone developer Workhorse Group Inc. reached a deal with lender Marathon Asset Management LP to relax financial covenants on a $35 million financing package as the company tries to meet demand for its vehicles. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Struggling Electric Vehicle Maker Workhorse Gets a Little Breathing Room," 3 Apr. 2019 Apparently, were SpaceX to seek a greater loan amount, investors would have wanted stronger loan covenants. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "What is going on with SpaceX and all these Big Falcon Rocket changes?," 20 Nov. 2018 And anti-Semitism by covenant ensured that Jewish families could only live in certain neighborhoods. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Rodricks: For Baltimore's vacant homes, why not a buyer's club?," 18 Apr. 2018 Estridge told IndyStar his plans were undone by covenants former owner Ruth Lilly placed upon the land in 1959 to limit development to homes on large lots. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Simon estate in Carmel may become Songbook Foundation museum," 4 Jan. 2018 ZoomSystems filed for bankruptcy in 2015 after several customer projects hit delays and the company breached debt covenants. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Racing for Your Flight but Need a Winter Coat? Try the Airport Vending Machine," 14 Nov. 2018 Last week the 18-member Human Rights Committee in Geneva ruled unanimously that, in the case of Mr. Arias, Colombia has failed to uphold its obligations under the covenant. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "A Cynical Trade With Colombia," 18 Nov. 2018 In particular, SoundCloud says the broad language regarding the covenant not to sue has been removed. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "SoundCloud pulls controversial contract terms after Verge report," 29 Oct. 2018 The 2015 suit asked for $200 million for constructive termination, breach of contract, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Sean Elder, Town & Country, "The War of The Grosses: Inside the Bitter Divorce Battle of the Laguna Beach "Bond King"," 22 Oct. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

Statistics for covenant

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for covenant

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for covenant

covenant

noun

Financial Definition of covenant

What It Is

A covenant is a promise a company makes, usually in return for a loan or bond issue.

How It Works

Covenants are most common in lending agreements and bond indentures. They can be financial or operational in nature.

Operational covenants often require borrowers to maintain their physical assets to certain standards, meet minimum disclosure requirements, engage only in permissible business lines, or maintain a certain level of insurance.

Financial covenants are frequently ratios that the borrower is required to stay above or below (a 2:1 debt-to-equity ratio or interest coverage ratio, for example), but there are usually also restrictions on debt levels and minimum working capital requirements. Financial covenants often limit the borrower's purchase of new assets, changes in control, the use of the borrowed funds, and the payment of dividends (so that shareholders cannot vote to pay themselves huge dividends, leaving nothing for the creditors). Some may also limit compensation packages for officers.

The lending agreement in which the covenant appears will also provide detailed formulas to be used to calculate the ratios and limits. It is important to note that in many cases these formulas do not conform to generally accepted accounting principals (GAAP). For example, the covenant may include leases in the debt calculation, or it may consider capital leases as an expense. As a result, it is very important that borrowers scrutinize covenants before borrowing.

Violating a covenant can trigger a technical default. This means that although the issuer is making interest and principal payments on time, it is not operating within the agreed-upon guidelines and is thus increasing the risk of default in the eyes of the lender or bondholders. Often borrowers have a certain amount of time to remedy the technical default, but it often lowers the borrower's credit rating and stock price.

Why It Matters

Lenders attach covenants to bond issues and loans as a way to force the borrower to operate in a financially prudent manner that ensures it will repay the debt. Issuers, on the other hand, usually negotiate the most flexible covenants they can so they have the freedom to make decisions and take risks that might ultimately benefit the shareholders.  In either case, covenants act as a safety mechanism that allows both parties to achieve its goals.

Source: Investing Answers

covenant

noun

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.

covenant

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

covenant

noun
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).

WORD OF THE DAY

highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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