cover

verb
cov·​er | \ ˈkə-vər How to pronounce cover (audio) \
covered; covering\ ˈkəv-​riŋ How to pronounce covering (audio) , ˈkə-​və-​ \

Definition of cover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to guard from attack
b(1) : to have within the range of one's guns : command The ships were covering approaches to the harbor.
(2) : to hold within range of an aimed firearm The deputy covered the sheriff who was apprehending the suspect.
c(1) : to afford protection or security to : insure a policy covering the traveler in all kinds of accidents
(2) : to afford protection against or compensation (see compensation sense 2) for a policy covering loss by fire
d(1) : to guard (an opponent) in order to obstruct a play a linebacker assigned to cover the tight end
(2) : to be in position to receive a throw to (a base in baseball) The shortstop was covering second.
e(1) : to make provision for (a demand or charge) by means of a reserve or deposit Your balance is insufficient to cover the check.
(2) : to maintain a check on especially by patrolling motorcycle police covering the highways
(3) : to protect by contrivance or expedient
2a : to hide from sight or knowledge : conceal cover up a scandal
b : to lie over : envelop a blanket covering her legs
3 : to lay or spread something over : overlay Cover the seedbed with straw.
4a : to spread over Snow covered the hills.
b : to appear here and there on the surface of a region covered with lakes
5 : to place or set a cover or covering over Cover the pot.
6a : to copulate with (a female animal) a horse covers a mare
b : to sit on and incubate (eggs)
7 : to invest with a large or excessive amount of something covered herself with glory
8 : to play a higher-ranking card on (a previously played card)
9 : to have sufficient scope to include or take into account an examination covering a full year's work
10 : to deal with : treat material covered in the first chapter
11a : to have as one's territory or field of activity One sales rep covers the whole state.
b : to report news about reporters covering the campaign
12 : to pass over : traverse Tthe hikers covered 12 miles that day.
13 : to defray the cost of cover expenses
14 : to place one's stake in equal jeopardy with in a bet
15 : to buy securities or commodities for delivery against (an earlier short sale)
16 : to record or perform a cover of (a song)

intransitive verb

1 : to conceal something illicit, blameworthy, or embarrassing from notice usually used with up cover up for a careless coworker
2 : to act as a substitute or replacement during an absence a stand-in covering for an injured star
cover one's tracks
: to conceal traces in order to elude pursuers or escape detection
cover the ground or cover ground
: to deal with a subject or assignment in a particular manner The new book covers a lot of ground.

cover

noun, often attributive

Definition of cover (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that protects, shelters, or guards: such as
a : natural shelter for an animal also : the factors that provide such shelter
b(1) : a position or situation affording protection from enemy fire
(2) : the protection offered by airplanes in tactical support of a military operation
c British : coverage sense 1a
2 : something that is placed over or about another thing:
a : lid, top
b : a binding or case for a book or the analogous part of a magazine also : the front or back of such a binding
c : an overlay or outer layer especially for protection a mattress cover
d : a tablecloth and the other table accessories
f : roof
g : a cloth used on a bed for warmth or for decoration usually used in plural lying under the covers
h : something (such as vegetation or snow) that covers the ground
i : the extent to which clouds obscure the sky
3a : something that conceals or obscures under cover of darkness
b : a masking device : pretext The project was a cover for intelligence operations.
4 : an envelope or wrapper for mail
5 : one who substitutes for another during an absence
6 : a recording or performance of a song previously recorded by another performer
under cover
1 : in an envelope or wrapper
2 : under concealment : in secret

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Other Words from cover

Verb

coverable \ ˈkəv-​rə-​bəl How to pronounce coverable (audio) , ˈkə-​və-​ \ adjective
coverer \ ˈkə-​vər-​ər How to pronounce coverer (audio) \ noun

Noun

coverless \ ˈkə-​vər-​ləs How to pronounce coverless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cover

Synonyms: Verb

fill in, pinch-hit, stand in, step in, sub, substitute, take over

Synonyms: Noun

cap, lid, top

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Examples of cover in a Sentence

Verb

The gardener covered the soil with mulch. The furniture had been covered in a protective cloth. We covered the stains on the wall with a fresh coat of paint. You should cover your mouth when you cough. She covered her head with a scarf. tables covered with white linen Lakes cover much of the state. The hikers covered long distances every day. The bird may cover thousands of miles during its migration.

Noun

She placed a cover over the pan so that the oil wouldn't spatter. I put a cover on the sofa to protect it. There's a picture of the author on the book's back cover. The singer is posing in jeans and cowboy boots on the album cover.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In addition, the new constitution obliges future governments to adhere to the regime’s 20-year development plan, which took effect in October and covers national security, equality, development and other areas. Washington Post, "Why Thailand’s Junta Is Cool With an Election," 18 Sep. 2019 When the eggs are mostly cooked but still a bit runny, turn off the heat and cover the skillet. BostonGlobe.com, "large plum tomatoes (about ¾ pound)," 17 Sep. 2019 Yes, covering some of the costs of some of the guests would be thoughtful and generous. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Amy: Sexting situation unsettles spouse," 17 Sep. 2019 The 50-minute classes take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. There are more than 100 course options covering a variety of topics including art, cinema, computers, history, music, religion, science, yoga and more. Carol Kovach, cleveland.com, "Tri-C’s Encore Campus, Neighborhood Scholars programs enrich older adults: Sun Postings," 17 Sep. 2019 Here’s his take on how The Times has covered Mexican food over the last 137 years. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Trump’s coming to town. Here’s everything he’s ever tweeted about California," 17 Sep. 2019 Old-growth trees once covered the Sierra Nevada and the California coast all the way to the Oregon border. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Biggest private sequoia grove to be preserved in deal with Redwoods League," 17 Sep. 2019 In all three games, Alabama had covered or equaled a large spread into the fourth quarter. Christopher Smith, al, "Why it’s impossible to win money betting on Alabama games," 17 Sep. 2019 Alex has extensive experience interviewing the stars and covering the red carpet. Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "‘Deco Drive’ brings a Miami native home to WSVN," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One Sunday night, after being punched, kicked and prodded by members of the Chinese secret police, Cole took cover in a hotel with Stuart Franklin, a Magnum photographer working for Time magazine. Washington Post, "Charlie Cole, photographer who captured the Tiananmen ‘Tank Man,’ has died," 15 Sep. 2019 For the students, Chesney explained, lockdown drills have become second nature, like the Cold War-era drills in which students took cover under their desks in anticipation of a Soviet nuclear attack. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: A small town in the heartland redesigned its school to prevent shootings. But architecture can’t ensure kids’ safety.," 6 Sep. 2019 Danielle Brosious, her mother and a friend were jogging in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery that evening when a storm rolled through, prompting the group to take cover under a large oak tree, WCPO and WLWT reported. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Woman Dies in Lightning Strike While Jogging at Cemetery Weeks Before 1-Year Wedding Anniversary," 4 Sep. 2019 Police fired round after round of tear gas as protesters took cover behind umbrellas between the local headquarters of China's People's Liberation Army and government HQ. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water cannon as latest protests turn violent," 31 Aug. 2019 For much of the book Lurie takes cover in the camel corps — led by a charming Turk named Hadji Ali — and bonds with his trusty camel Burke. Ryan Chapman, Longreads, "‘Nobody in This Book Is Going to Catch a Break’: Téa Obreht on “Inland”," 28 Aug. 2019 Shoppers ran and took cover Sunday night after the smash-grab-robbery at Valliani Jewelers in the Great Mall of the Bay Area caused chaos and a large police response. Pete Grieve, SFChronicle.com, "Police release photos of 3 suspects wanted for robbery that shut down Milpitas mall," 26 Aug. 2019 Jansma and another officer chased the man, who took cover behind bushes and began throwing rocks at the officers. Justin Price, azcentral, "Phoenix police routinely 'purges' officer discipline records, keeps misconduct secret," 23 Aug. 2019 McCain turned the helicopter to safety, taking cover behind a ridge line. Dan Lamothe, Anchorage Daily News, "How a McCain came home from war to mourn his famous father," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cover.' 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 cover

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cover

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French coverir, covrir, from Latin cooperire, from co- + operire to close, cover

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Statistics for cover

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cover

The first known use of cover was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cover

cover

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put something over, on top of, or in front of (something else) especially in order to protect, hide, or close it
: to be spread over or on top of (something)
: to be over much or all of the surface of (something)

cover

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cover (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is put around or on top of another thing especially to protect, hide, or close it
: a blanket or sheet on a bed
: the outer part of a book or magazine

cover

verb
cov·​er | \ ˈkə-vər How to pronounce cover (audio) \
covered; covering

Kids Definition of cover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to place or spread something over Cover the pot. She covered her head with a cloth and said a special prayer …— Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
2 : to be spread with or extend over much or all of the surface of His face is covered with freckles.
3 : to form a covering over Snow covered the ground.
4 : to pass over or through The bikers covered 50 miles a day.
5 : to provide protection to or against Soldiers covered the landing with artillery.
6 : to maintain a check on by patrolling Police cover the highways.
7 : to hide from sight or knowledge I covered my embarrassment.
8 : to deal with as a subject The test will cover everything we've studied so far.
9 : to have as a field of activity or interest Our newspaper employs a reporter covering the courthouse.
10 : to provide insurance for

cover

noun

Kids Definition of cover (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that protects, shelters, or hides
2 : a covering (as a blanket) used on a bed
3 : a binding or a protecting case a book cover
4 : something that is placed over or about another thing : lid, top a mattress cover the cover of a box
cov·​er

Legal Definition of cover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : insure this policy covers other family drivers
2 : to give protection against or compensation or indemnification for doesn't cover flood damage

intransitive verb

: to obtain cover where the seller anticipatorily repudiates a contract and the buyer does not coverCosden Oil & Chemical Co. v. Karl O. Helm AG, 736 F.2d 1064 (1984)

cover

noun

Legal Definition of cover (Entry 2 of 2)

: purchase of goods in substitution for those originally contracted for when the seller fails to fulfill the contract the buyer is always free to choose between cover and damages for nondeliveryUniform Commercial Code also : the substituted goods

Note: Under the Uniform Commercial Code, when a seller does not perform on a contract, the buyer has the option of covering, with the seller paying the difference between the cost of the cover and the original contract price, or seeking damages for nonperformance. Reselling is the seller's comparable remedy when a buyer does not perform under a contract.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cover

Spanish Central: Translation of cover

Nglish: Translation of cover for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cover for Arabic Speakers

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