\ 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

Downtown Denver was obscured by a thick veil of fog Monday morning. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: Marginal risk of egg-sized hail, heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph over Front Range," 17 June 2019 Here, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River plunges off a high escarpment, tumbling some 350 feet into a narrow chasm and creating a mile-wide veil of mist and rushing water shot through with rainbows. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet," 12 June 2019 After returning to the United States in 1976, her husband became director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a veil of secrecy isolated her from his work. Cathleen Decker,, "Barbara Bush dies at 92; popular first lady was also the mother of a president," 18 Apr. 2018 The two law professors grounded their reforms in John Rawls’s veil of ignorance thought experiment. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Better Way to Fix the Supreme Court," 4 June 2019 In an Instagram Stories post by Diplo last night, Turner is seen wearing a strappy, silky jumpsuit and white veil. Glamour, "Sophie Turner’s Jumpsuit for Her Wedding to Joe Jonas Is Super Chic—and You Can Actually Buy It," 2 May 2019 The bride wore a white jumpsuit and veil for the ceremony, which was conducted by an Elvis impersonator and attended by their close friends and family. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas Got Married With a Las Vegas Wedding After the Billboard Awards," 2 May 2019 According to Mark 15:38, sin had separated people from God, but at the moment of Christ's death, the veil that separated humanity from the presence of God lifted. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Good Friday? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 13 Feb. 2019 Beyoncé paired the elegant dress with an ultra-long veil and tiny sunglasses for a cool, on-trend upgrade. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Wore the Coolest Wedding Gown for Her Vow Renewal with Jay-Z," 2 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Is the election of two Muslim women—one of them is veiled—to the House, which is making history. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Questions for the President," 8 Nov. 2018 That comes through in his tweets, obviously, with his disdain or frustrations often only thinly veiled. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: What’s with Trump’s suits? Asking a tailor," 4 June 2019 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

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

21 Jun 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).


showing courage and determination

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