\ ˈvāl How to pronounce veil (audio) \

Definition of veil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a length of cloth worn by women as a covering for the head and shoulders and often especially in Eastern countries for the face specifically : the outer covering of a nun's headdress
b : a length of veiling or netting worn over the head or face or attached for protection or ornament to a hat or headdress a bridal veil
c : any of various liturgical cloths especially : a cloth used to cover the chalice
2 : the life of a nun often used in the phrase take the veil
3 : a concealing curtain or cover of cloth
4 : something that resembles a veil a veil of stars especially : something that hides or obscures like a veil lift the veil of secrecy
5 : a covering body part or membrane: such as
a : velum
b : caul


veiled; veiling; veils

Definition of veil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cover, provide, obscure, or conceal with or as if with a veil

intransitive verb

: to put on or wear a veil

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Examples of veil in a Sentence

Noun Veils of moss draped the trees. under the veil of descending darkness the thieves began their operation Verb Her eyes were partially veiled by her long, dark hair. The sun was veiled by clouds.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But part of what made her wedding day look so jaw-dropping was her magnificent veil. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Why Grace Kelly Wore a Gorgeous Circular Veil on Her Wedding Day," 7 Aug. 2019 The veils darken again during redevelopment because the silver chloride returns to metallic silver. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists unlock the chemical secrets of a 19th-century photography technique," 6 Nov. 2019 Through the Aurora, when the veil between worlds appears at its thinnest, Asriel glimpsed the presence of a city existing in an alternate reality. Nick Romano,, "His Dark Materials digi-dictionary: Your guide to the HBO series multiverse," 3 Nov. 2019 It was believed this was a time when the veil was lifted between our world and the underworld to commune with the dead. Jeff Suess,, "Halloween history: Holiday traditions of pranks and costumed revelers on Fountain Square," 30 Oct. 2019 This drama tells the story of William H. Mumler, a Victorian-era spirit photographer who captures haunting images of the dead from the world beyond the veil. Anchorage Daily News, "Not in a Halloween mood? Here are some other fun things to do in Anchorage this week," 25 Oct. 2019 And there was a mishap with one of the Wilis’ veils., "Boston Ballet serves up a superb ‘Giselle’ - The Boston Globe," 21 Sep. 2019 But, even though the 75-foot-long wedding veil, the lavish wedding receptions, and the selection of perfect outfits are all done and dusted, the actress isn’t stopping just yet. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Priyanka Chopra Just Revealed a Blonde Hair Makeover," 21 Jan. 2019 Eugenie Skipped the Veil Eugenie broke with tradition, skipping the veil and wearing just the elaborate Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara instead. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "How Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Compares to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's," 12 Oct. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The model is an enigmatic apparition, veiled by a heavy gold fringe of glass beads down to her chest—as if Theda Bara’s face were going to a Halloween party dressed as a car wash. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 Often, internet blackouts during protests are veiled in the language of public safety and the protection of law and order. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "As more Africans reach for web, more leaders reach for ‘off’ switch," 23 Jan. 2019 The analysts say the missile test could be thinly veiled as a launch of a satellite so as to avoid the appearance of direct military hostility. John Walcott, Time, "Is North Korea Getting Ready to Launch a New Missile?," 13 Dec. 2019 Swift loves a good coded message or veiled reference or symbol. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "American Music Awards: 10 things you missed, from Taylor Swift’s speech to Billie Eilish’s message," 25 Nov. 2019 Mordançage is a photographic process that yields striking black-and-white photographs characterized by ghostly veiling effects. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists unlock the chemical secrets of a 19th-century photography technique," 6 Nov. 2019 Hamilton was more concerned with noisy, flamboyant figures, who would throw dust in voters’ eyes and veil their sinister designs behind it. Ron Chernow, Twin Cities, "Ron Chernow: Hamilton pushed for a powerful president — and for impeachment powers," 21 Oct. 2019 Most striking though was a full scrim late in the show that projected a black-and-white video of a dancer veiled in long curtains of dark hair, which lifted to reveal her firstborn, 22-year-old Lourdes. Leah Greenblatt,, "Madonna brings freewheeling intimacy to Madame X tour," 20 Sep. 2019 While the signs of suicide are often veiled, friends and employers can help, Pearson said, by taking it seriously when someone shares suicidal thoughts, even in jest. Christina Tkacik,, "‘Did I miss him asking for help?’ After death of Ocean City chef, a look at suicide in restaurant industry," 11 Sep. 2019

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


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for veil


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin vēla, plural of vēlum "sail, awning, curtain," going back to *u̯eg-s-lo-, perhaps derivative of a verbal base *u̯eg-, akin to Old Irish -fig- "weaves," Old English wēoce "wick" — more at wick entry 1


Middle English veilen, borrowed from Anglo-French veler, verbal derivative of veil veil entry 1

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Time Traveler for veil

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for veil

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Veil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for veil


How to pronounce veil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of veil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of cloth or net worn usually by women over the head and shoulders and sometimes over the face
: something that covers or hides something else



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

: to cover (something) with a veil or with something that is like a veil : to hide or partly hide (something)


\ ˈvāl How to pronounce veil (audio) \

Kids Definition of veil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a piece of cloth or net worn usually by women over the head and shoulders and sometimes over the face
2 : something that covers or hides like a veil a veil of secrecy Her hazel eyes, under their veil of long lashes, had a greenish flash to them.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain


veiled; veiling

Kids Definition of veil (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover with or as if with a piece of cloth or net for the head and shoulders or face


\ ˈvā(ə)l How to pronounce veil (audio) \

Medical Definition of veil

: a covering body part or membrane especially : caul sense 2

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More from Merriam-Webster on veil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for veil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with veil

Spanish Central: Translation of veil

Nglish: Translation of veil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of veil for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about veil

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