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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After a lawyer volunteering with Just Deeds filed the necessary paperwork, the title now shows that the covenant was discharged. Erica Pearson, Star Tribune, "These Minnesotans renounced the racial covenants for their homes," 6 Apr. 2021 Without some kind of restrictive legal covenant covering his giving, Huntsman seems to have little redress in clawing the money back. The Salt Lake Tribune, "James Huntsman isn’t the first to sue the LDS Church for a tithing refund. Do any of them stand a chance?," 4 Apr. 2021 Though privately owned, Hillside Villa’s 124 apartments were developed through a combination of subsidized loans and tax breaks, tied to a 30-year covenant to keep rents low. Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, The New Republic, "The Enduring Fiction of Affordable Housing," 2 Apr. 2021 In Timonium, issues over noise levels from live music at Hightopps Backstage Grille spurred the nearby Stratford community to execute a covenant with bar operators in August last year. Taylor Deville,, "Putting entertainment on the menu: Baltimore County seeks to boost musicians, restaurants with more live music," 22 Mar. 2021 Unlike Avraham who limits the covenantal blessing to Yitzchak, and Yitzchak who limits the covenantal blessing to Ya’akov, Ya’akov includes all of his sons in the covenant. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Vayeishev parsha: The best model of nation is family," 8 Dec. 2020 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 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for covenant

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for covenant

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Covenant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on covenant

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