\ 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


Veils of moss draped the trees. under the veil of descending darkness the thieves began their operation


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

The group has previously tried to implement laws based on its extreme interpretation of Islam including requiring women to wear face veils, banning smoking and requiring a separation of genders in universities. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Terror Group Seizes Last Syrian Opposition Stronghold," 10 Jan. 2019 There’s something thrilling about the tension of a seemingly regular person trying to maintain a veil of normalcy, while maintaining a separate identity as a serial killer or vigilante hero. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018 The veil was 25 feet and the silk shoes were reportedly covered in 542 sequins and 132 pearls. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Princess Diana's waist shrunk down to 23 inches for her wedding to Prince Charles," 30 July 2018 The veil also represented the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in a floral composition. Brittany Talarico,, "Breaking Down Meghan Markle's First Official Outfit as the Duchess of Sussex (Those Stockings!)," 22 May 2018 The cathedral-length veil is a stunning 120 inches long. Meagan Fredette,, "Meghan Markle Got Her Tiara From Queen Elizabeth's Private Collection," 19 May 2018 The veil represents both our plight and our progress—a simple cloth with complex meanings in such a complicated time. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "What Item Would You Put in a Time Capsule to Help the Next Century Understand Our Current Moment?," 24 Apr. 2018 The veil and underskirt are among only a handful of items the family has recovered. Amanda Lee Myers, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mudslide survivors reconnected with treasured personal belongings months later," 17 Apr. 2018 Operating under the same kind of veil of legitimacy as fraudulent ICOs, hackers tapped in to users’ accounts and sent and received payments that, at the time, were instantly drained from bank accounts. Kevin Mcallister, WSJ, "Outsmart the Scammers: How You Can Avoid Fraud," 6 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Luca and Cherri’s stories are disrupting dominant narratives that veil existing colonial power structures and wealth inequality. Mary Lovell, Teen Vogue, "Bayou Bridge Pipeline Meets Resistance from the L’eau Est La Vie Camp," 16 Oct. 2018 Most Iranian women were used to veiling at the time and did not welcome the decree, particularly since violence was sometimes used to force women in public to remove their veils. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 Your friends who hate brushing their hair (me) will thank you for your remedy veiled in thoughtfulness. Alexandra Polkinghorn, WSJ, "Managing Editor Alexandra Polkinghorn’s Holiday Gift Guide: Little Luxuries," 4 Dec. 2018 After a lot of talk about Bixby and Samsung's Android Pie update, the company cut the lights and showed off a folding smartphone veiled in darkness and hidden in a case. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung’s foldable phone is real, and it launches next year," 7 Nov. 2018 And taking the look to the next dimension, Alexander added a backdrop of skin veiled in Silver Strobe Cream, then draped the high planes of the face in iridescent Cream Color Base in Luna for a full moon-rivaling glow. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The New Way to Wear Pastel Eye Makeup, According to the Missoni Runway," 22 Sep. 2018 Giving the job to an independent commission can veil the dirty work, but that’s about it. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Gerrymandering a State Constitution," 3 Dec. 2018 Driving is not veiling, nor is anyone being forced to do it. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 Tobin veils the haunting melody in smoky orchestral texture fronted by a jazz quartet of vocalist (Davis), trumpeter (Evans), bassist Kyle Motl and percussionist/drummer Kjell Nordeson. Marcus Overton,, "La Jolla Symphony & Chorus close season with trademark eclecticism," 10 June 2018

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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Learn More about veil

Dictionary Entries near veil






veiled medusa


Statistics for veil

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for veil

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

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More Definitions for veil



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with veil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on veil

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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