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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Given the mid-May premiere, there's a LOT of ground to cover. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "All Hannah B's 'Bachelorette' Contestants Have Been Announced," 13 Mar. 2019 California does require insurance companies to cover infertility treatments such as hormone medications, but not the far pricier IVF, which can start at roughly $15,000 per round. Jancee Dunn, Vogue, "How California Became the World’s Fertility Treatment Destination," 13 Mar. 2019 The stock surge likely was supercharged by high short interest and an ensuing rush to cover. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "An Earnings Climb Buys Stitch Fix Time," 11 Mar. 2019 How to Hard Boil Eggs Places eggs in saucepan and add enough water to cover the eggs by one inch. Lyndsey Matthews, Country Living, "How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Every Time," 8 Mar. 2019 Chick: Frost cupcake with yellow buttercream, then roll in yellow sprinkles to cover. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Animal Cupcakes," 7 Mar. 2019 When choosing makeup to cover up your chest, opt for a product that is made for acne prone skin, so as not to irritate the area even more. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Get Rid of Chest Acne in a Zap With These Tips," 5 Mar. 2019 The government issued updated withholding guidelines to help employers determine how much to set aside from an employee’s paycheck to cover taxes. Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Seattle Times, "I owe how much? Americans shocked by impact of new tax law," 20 Feb. 2019 For lower-lift solutions, the DOE offers instructions for a variety of DIY weatherization techniques, like how to air seal leaks with caulk and how to properly cover attic stairs. Barbara Eldredge, Curbed, "How to save on utility bills," 25 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lenovo also combined a user-facing IR depth camera and HD camera, and put them behind its privacy-minded ThinkShutter sliding cover. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Lenovo's ThinkPad T490 emphasizes display improvements in 2019 refresh," 24 Feb. 2019 The athlete is Love Magazine's latest cover star and his stunning eye makeup has everyone shook. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Love Magazine's David Beckham Cover Showing Off His Green Eyeshadow Is Incredible," 9 Jan. 2019 Taking the cover off the Helm without proper care may result in tearing connectors to the antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and potentially the antennas themselves. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Review: Helm Personal Server gets email self-hosting (almost) exactly right," 4 Dec. 2018 The officer that was struck in the chest was able to return fire, before both officers were able to take cover. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "2 Pennsylvania police officers injured in shooting while responding to false report of abduction," 2 Oct. 2018 Plus the Kennedy Center was a convenient cover for cold feet. Marie Claire, "Lily Tomlin Gets Candid About Her Biggest Career Regret," 11 Feb. 2019 The video went viral, as did a full cover of the song on her Youtube channel. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Who is Rachel Zegler? All About the High School Student Cast as Maria in the New “West Side Story”," 15 Jan. 2019 Under the vehicle there are splitters ahead of the front wheels, a dimpled underbody cover beneath the battery, front and rear underbody spoilers, and rear-axle Gurney flaps. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "We’ve driven Audi’s first proper electric car, the 2019 e-tron SUV," 7 Dec. 2018 Inside, a two-page spread displayed the covers of every previous edition, several of which pictured Robert E. Lee’s face. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Lee High School’s mountain of memories to be auctioned," 11 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cover

Statistics for cover

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cover

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on cover

What made you want to look up cover? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!