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 upcover 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 plurallying 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

Synonyms: Noun

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 Costco Since Monday, May 4, all shoppers over the age of 2 have been required to wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose while shopping at Costco. Jamie Landers, azcentral, "These companies and businesses are requesting customers wear masks as Arizona reopens," 13 May 2020 Nicaragua, meanwhile, has refused to impose social-distancing measures, and there are media reports that the government is covering up the extent of its outbreak. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Reports of mass graves as Latin America becomes new pandemic epicenter," 13 May 2020 For this second series of loans, the program has paid out $1,525,755,462 to 30,647 Alabama businesses, according to figures from Small Business Administration that cover through May 8. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "$1.5 billion paid to Alabama small businesses through loan program," 13 May 2020 South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world’s rhinos, which have been hard hit by poaching syndicates that raid the country’s national parks, sprawling tracts of wilderness that cover about 37,000 square kilometers (an area larger than Taiwan). Sarah Wild, Scientific American, "Antipoaching Tech Tracks COVID-19 Flare-Ups in South Africa," 12 May 2020 Conjunctiva is the membrane that covers the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids. Fox News, "The human eye is 'susceptible' to coronavirus infection, new study warns," 11 May 2020 But the deepest point in the Arctic Ocean was covered by the polar ice cap, and would remain so for several months. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, "Thirty-six Thousand Feet," 10 May 2020 The missed funding comes as the state Department of Workforce Development reported the state fund that will cover that $25 million and billions more in unemployment payments could be depleted as early as October. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin lost out on $25M in federal funding because GOP lawmakers waited to pass coronavirus relief bill," 7 May 2020 Donovan studied disinformation and media manipulation at the Data & Society Research Institute, an independent nonprofit that covers the social and cultural impact of technology. NBC News, "These disinformation researchers saw the coronavirus 'infodemic' coming," 7 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In response to these accusations, Beijing has denied any cover-up of its response. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Peter Navarro: Coronavirus whistleblower is 'deserter in the war' against pandemic," 14 May 2020 The pandemic is already producing its own cover-ups. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus and the Republican War on Knowledge," 14 May 2020 Now the advance of cellphones and, more recently, the new high-speed networks built to serve them have given rise to a paranoid coalition who believe to varying degrees in a massive cover-up of deleterious harm. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Something in the Air," 14 May 2020 Some took cover behind the cash register and Parsons took five or six customers to a storage area. Bloomberg.com, "Shootout in Downtown Seattle Leaves 1 Dead, 7 Injured," 10 May 2020 Officers can be seen running to take cover and returning gunfire. Chelsea Hofmann, azcentral, "Cottonwood police release body cam footage from arrest of man accused of shooting, injuring an officer," 8 May 2020 One of Marks’ friends was crouching down to take cover when one of his rounds struck his friend. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "‘I want justice’: Jefferson County mom says son’s shooting death was no accident," 7 May 2020 His eyes were hawklike, his movements more aggressive than ever, and instead of squeaking toward him and pleading for the bathroom keyboard, Cheng Shi-Xu’s instinct was to take cover. New York Times, "‘Little Eyes,’ by Samanta Schweblin: An Excerpt," 5 May 2020 The dress’s lightweight and breezy design is perfect for hot days ahead; wear it on its own or layered over a swimsuit as a cover-up. PEOPLE.com, "Old Navy Just Marked Down Everything Online to $25 (or Less!)," 1 May 2020

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

Time Traveler for cover

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for cover

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cover. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cover

cover

verb
How to pronounce cover (audio)

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

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!