1 of 2


: 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
: 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
: any of various liturgical cloths
especially : a cloth used to cover the chalice
: the life of a nun
often used in the phrase take the veil
: a concealing curtain or cover of cloth
: something that resembles a veil
a veil of stars
especially : something that hides or obscures like a veil
lift the veil of secrecy
: a covering body part or membrane: such as
: velum
: caul


2 of 2


veiled; veiling; veils

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to put on or wear a veil

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
One of the women, wearing a transparent veil over a bright-orange dress, leans out of the upper level. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 Figures are seen through veils of condensation or snow; taxis barrel and blur through the rain; a traffic light punctuates a blizzard. Christian House, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 Its namesake similarly throws a protective veil over Ukraine. David Hambling, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 There’s a veil of obscuration where transparency would be best. Emily Latimer, Longreads, 25 Jan. 2024 Throughout those years, the military has wielded ultimate authority, guiding its politics behind a veil of secrecy, and civilian leaders have typically risen to power only with its support — or been driven from office by its heavy hand. Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Michelle Yeoh’s Guide to Skincare Squats and a 10-Minute Makeup Look Once the balayage pieces are in, the color can be tweaked using in-salon glosses, which add a healthy shine and deposit a semi-permanent veil (around 20 washes’ worth) of color over the hair. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 8 Feb. 2024 Indeed, while no rabbi pierces the veil there, a woman named Frieda Vizel does. Charlie Hobbs, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Jan. 2024 Sumpter wore a strapless wedding dress by Galia Lahav paired with a flowing veil, while James opted for a pale blue custom Franc Milton suit. Kaitlin Stevens, Peoplemag, 28 Jan. 2024
In the heart of the Himalayas lies a kingdom veiled in tradition and adorned with breathtaking landscapes of mountains and valleys. Judy Koutsky, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 And third, that thinly veiled anti-Chinese xenophobia has become a reliable part of the US political playbook. Dexter Thomas, WIRED, 1 Feb. 2024 The high-profile case has also largely been veiled in secrecy due to a gag order in place -- and the Goncalves family thinks more information needs to be revealed. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 26 Jan. 2024 Claudel spent months on a version that veiled the female figure. Farah Peterson, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2023 Kashyap shoehorned into the script thinly veiled criticism of Indian politicians’ coziness with billionaire industrialists and the government’s handling of the pandemic. Anant Gupta, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Until then, most gay characters in American theater had been veiled or demonized. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2023 But critics say these statements are thinly veiled attempts at enforcing ideological orthodoxy. Michael Powell,, 9 Sep. 2023 Those deceptions on his résumé veiled a professional ascent that, in reality, embodied the do-it-yourself hustle at the heart of Silicon Valley’s mythology. Albert Samaha, Rolling Stone, 22 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near veil

Cite this Entry

“Veil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: 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 like a veil
lift the veil of secrecy


2 of 2 verb
: to cover with or as if with a veil

Medical Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on veil

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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