cov·​er·​ture | \ ˈkə-vər-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce coverture (audio) , -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r \

Definition of coverture

1a : covering
b : shelter
2 : the status a woman acquires upon marriage under common law

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Examples of coverture in a Sentence

under the coverture of a raging snowstorm, the rebels undertook their surprise attack on the fortress
Recent Examples on the Web In the nascent American Republic, where some humans could vote and most others were in coverture to their voting husbands or were the property of those men, the notion of majority representation was corrupted a priori. Shannon Pufahl, The New York Review of Books, "Numbering the Dead," 21 Apr. 2020 Coverture also meant that a man had largely unrestrained access to his wife’s body. Elizabeth Weingarten, The Atlantic, "Is This the End of the Crusade for Gender-Equal Curricula?," 15 June 2017 The answer partially lies in the practices of coverture, embedded in the old law of domestic relations that American colonists inherited from the British and didn’t change after the Revolution. Elizabeth Weingarten, The Atlantic, "Is This the End of the Crusade for Gender-Equal Curricula?," 15 June 2017

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

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

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Time Traveler for coverture

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

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Cite this Entry

“Coverture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for coverture


cov·​er·​ture | \ ˈkə-vər-ˌchu̇r, -chər How to pronounce coverture (audio) \

Legal Definition of coverture

: the inclusion of a woman in the legal person of her husband upon marriage under common law

Note: Because of coverture, married women formerly did not have the legal capacity to hold their own property or contract on their own behalf. These disabilities have been removed for the most part by statute.

History and Etymology for coverture

Anglo-French, literally, shelter, covering, from Old French, from covert, past participle of covrir to cover

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coverture Encyclopedia article about coverture

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