\ˈvāl \

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

Mandy Moore's surprise backyard wedding to Taylor Goldsmith over the weekend had an ethereal quality—from the dreamy pink tulle gown by Rodarte to the fresh, glowy makeup and the sweet veil. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "All the Details on Mandy Moore's Gorgeous Wedding Makeup," 20 Nov. 2018 Twins Brian and John were responsible for holding Meghan's train and veil during her procession down the aisle. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Jessica Mulroney Is On Royal Tour With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle," 15 Oct. 2018 Denmark recently banned face veils in public, saying the move was critical to ensure public safety and uphold Danish values. Fox News, "San Francisco museum shows off modern Muslim women's fashion," 21 Sep. 2018 The poems pierce our modern veil, reminding us of what has changed in the past century, as well as of eternal truths. Aaron Schnoor, WSJ, "The Great War Produced Some Great Poetry," 9 Nov. 2018 When Markle married Prince Harry in May 2018, the design of her veil featured flora from all 53 Commonwealth countries, along with wintersweet for Kensington Palace and California poppies for her home state. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding: a fashion FAQ," 12 Oct. 2018 Advertisement Meghan revealed some more insider deets about her veil and headpiece during the doc. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Sewed a Piece of the Dress She Wore on Her First Date With Prince Harry Into Her Wedding Veil," 23 Sep. 2018 After the ceremony, Jenna needed some help getting her veil out of her hair., "Philadelphia weddings: Jenna McGivney and Daniel Garrison," 25 Apr. 2018 Measures against the wearing of Islamic veils have already been taken in Belgium, France, Denmark, and Spain, among others, with the Netherlands passing its own ban this week. Michael Shields, The Christian Science Monitor, "Swiss government's rejection of burqa ban prompts binding referendum," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The scene’s veiled reference becomes all the more pointed when Lisa turns to gaze at a photo of Apu on her nightstand. Nina Metz,, "'The Simpsons' and 'Silicon Valley' and when TV showrunners avoid creative challenges," 12 Apr. 2018 Bougainvillea veiled my room’s outdoor sitting area, which had a couch and two love seats. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 While the precise methods used by hacker activists are veiled in secrecy, Mr. Nimirovski said his team has used false digital identities to infiltrate hidden cybercrime sites to gather information on pedophiles. Inna Lazareva, The Christian Science Monitor, "Vigilante hackers work to save human trafficking victims," 20 June 2018 Today, the 7-Up company acknowledges the origin of their product’s name has always been veiled with mystery, although a number of theories exist. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "7-Up cake? Bubbly history of the lemon-lime soda includes popular retro recipes," 6 July 2018 The exclusion has historical roots: Following orientalist stereotypes shored up under colonialism, the veiled and covered-up Muslim woman became the exemplar of oppressed persons. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "The Feminist Future of Modesty," 12 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

6 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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