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 covenantal (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 At its center: Lila Moss, 17, and wearing her mother's cheekbones, fulfilling her ancestral covenant to become a Marc Jacobs muse on the cusp of adulthood. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Marc Jacobs Isn't Perfect, But His New Fragrance Is," 30 July 2020 Pamfilova’s cynicism is entirely explicable: in Russia, the constitution has rarely been a covenant of good governance between the state and the people. Anastasia Edel, The New York Review of Books, "Putin’s Constitutional Tsarism," 9 July 2020 At that corner, properties were governed by racial covenants. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "George Floyd’s Death and the Long History of Racism in Minneapolis," 28 May 2020 African Americans were forced to look in the private market, which was heavily segregated and often encumbered by racial covenants banning blacks. Gary Kamiya,, "Marin shipyard welcomed blacks and women in WWII, but diversity ended at the gates," 3 Apr. 2020 There’s a high probability that Sasol will breach the covenants agreed with its lenders, but the most sensible option for banks would be to give the oil company six months to improve its situation, rather than call in their loans, Comer said. Paul Burkhardt,, "Sasol’s Call Is ‘Key Catalyst’ for Stock Down 80% in Four Days," 29 Apr. 2020 In recent weeks, that credit crunch has pushed some companies closer to breaching debt covenants. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "CFOs Under Pressure to Maintain Liquidity as Coronavirus Inflicts Economic Damage," 10 Apr. 2020 The state and Northeast Phoenix Partners agreed to covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements — now a roughly 9-inch thick document — that gave the company the ability to approve future amendments to the development plan. Craig Harris, azcentral, "Why the most valuable piece of state trust land is still largely undeveloped," 22 Apr. 2020 City officials, and the owners of four buildings adjacent to the hotel, alleged the project would put the surrounding community at risk and would violate restrictions outlined in the property’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, or CC&Rs. Los Angeles Times, "O.C. can use Laguna Hills hotel as homeless shelter amid coronavirus outbreak, judge rules," 20 Apr. 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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Covenant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for covenant


How to pronounce covenant (audio)

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

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Comments on covenant

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