cover

1 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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.
4
a
: 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.
6
a
: 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
11
a
: 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
The hikers covered 12 miles that day.
13
: to defray the cost of
cover expenses
14
: to place one's stake in equal jeopardy within 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
coverable
ˈkəv-rə-bəl How to pronounce cover (audio)
ˈkə-və-
adjective
coverer noun

cover

2 of 2

noun

often attributive
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
3
a
: 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
coverless adjective
Phrases
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.
under cover
1
: in an envelope or wrapper
2
: under concealment : in secret

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Or can be seen through thin spots in whatever clouds may be covering it. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2024 Makeshift tents constructed with large wooden poles covered in plastic sheeting are too flimsy to withstand winter weather. Mohammad Al Sawalhi, CNN, 7 Apr. 2024 For most locations in the United States, the moon will first cover the bottom right section of the sun and appear to slowly move up and to the left. Dean Regas, The Enquirer, 7 Apr. 2024 The plan is to cover about six miles a day for three days, with time carved out on Monday to hike up to a fire tower and hang out there to view the eclipse. Rachel Treisman, NPR, 7 Apr. 2024 Employers may not cover the cost of birth control in health insurance plans. Stephanie Booth, Health, 6 Apr. 2024 Luft was in court every day as prosecutors Sean McGuinness and Michelle Manning presented their case: that Troconis conspired with her boyfriend Fotis Dulos to murder his estranged wife, and then helped to cover up the crime. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 6 Apr. 2024 Many male journalists are so out of touch and don’t have a clue about covering the popular surge in women’s sports without being sexist or misogynist. Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2024 On a random note: Long before those assignments, Chuck was pepper-sprayed covering the disturbances in Miami the morning Elián Gonzalez was whisked away by federal authorities. Charles Rabin, Miami Herald, 26 Mar. 2024
Noun
Come the end of 2024, this will probably still stand as one of my favorite covers of the year. Chris Willman, Variety, 9 Apr. 2024 The album cover features Eilish underwater, barefoot and sinking beneath a white wooden door. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, 8 Apr. 2024 Forecasters at the National Weather Service are predicting a 30% chance of sky cover during the eclipse time in southeastern Michigan. Jenna Prestininzi, Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2024 Because surveillance drones are now typically equipped with thermal cameras that register the heat signatures of human bodies, the cover of darkness would be insufficient for the team to elude detection. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 The singer shared the news on Instagram alongside the project’s cover art, a portrait of her sinking underwater, seemingly seconds after being dropped from the other side of a door that’s visible at the top of the frame. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 8 Apr. 2024 Video from the incident posted on social media shows the cover called a cowling blowing open, making the engine visible from a passenger’s window. Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2024 Several law enforcement agencies, including Miami-Dade and Sweetwater police, converged on the shopping center, according to authorities Shoppers and store employees can be seen on social media taking cover after hearing a fight break out at the mall. Rebecca San Juan, Miami Herald, 7 Apr. 2024 No cover, donations benefit Sunset Park Concert Series. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 7 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cover.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near cover

Cite this Entry

“Cover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cover. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

cover

1 of 2 verb
cov·​er ˈkəv-ər How to pronounce cover (audio)
covered; covering ˈkəv-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce cover (audio)
1
a
: to guard from attack
b
: to have within range of one's guns
c
: to provide protection to or against : insure
insurance that covers the traveler in any accident
the policy covered water damage
d
: to maintain a check on especially by patrolling
state police covering the highways
2
a
: to hide something from sight or knowledge
cover up a scandal
b
: to conceal something dishonest or embarrassing from notice
cover for a friend in an investigation
c
: to act as a substitute or replacement
covered for me during my vacation
3
a
: to spread or lie over or on
covered the child with a blanket
water covered the floor
b
: to put something protective or concealing over
cover the mouth while coughing
4
a
: to deal with
a test covering two chapters
b
: to provide or plan for
plans covering an emergency
5
a
: to have as one's territory or field of activity
one salesperson covers the whole state
b
: to report news about
covered the trial
6
: to pass over or through
covered 10 miles a day
7
: to pay or provide for the payment of
cover expenses
coverable adjective
coverer
-ər-ər
noun

cover

2 of 2 noun
1
: something that protects, shelters, or conceals (as a natural shelter for an animal or natural features that shelter or conceal)
2
a
: something that is placed over or about another thing (as the lid of a box or a sheet or blanket on a bed)
b
: a binding or case for a book or the front or back of such a binding
c
: something (as plants or snow) that covers the ground
3
: an envelope or wrapper for mail

Legal Definition

cover

1 of 2 transitive verb
cov·​er
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

2 of 2 noun
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on cover

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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