\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In addition to Meghan's Givenchy wedding dress, veil, and tiara, and Harry's military uniform, the page boy and bridesmaid outfits worn by Prince George and Princess Charlotte are also part of the exhibition. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Revealed How She Chose Her Royal Wedding Tiara," 26 Oct. 2018 In the perfect photo, Karlie poses with her bouquet, looking completely angelic in her pristine gown and veil. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Joshua Kushner Just Shared a Secret Wedding Photo of Karlie Kloss, and It's Perfect," 21 Oct. 2018 Ethereal in a black Armani Privé gown and speckled veil, Lady Gaga posed alongside costar Bradley Cooper, who marked his directorial debut with the fourth remake of the musical classic that once starred greats Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Jamie Lincoln, Vogue, "Inside the Most Star-Studded Premieres and Parties at the Toronto International Film Festival," 18 Sep. 2018 Of course, the Daily Mail snagged some sneaky paparazzi photos of the ceremony, revealing that Shaffer (who has taken her husband’s last name, according to Instagram) wore a long-sleeve white gown and a veil, with her hair up in a bun. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Anna Wintour’s Daughter Got Married This Weekend and We Weren’t Invited," 9 July 2018 So this is a monster of a machine kind of inside this veil of this nice aesthetic. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Lauren Goode on her final Too Embarrassed to Ask," 4 Apr. 2018 Dior also had a distinct retro-futurist vibe above the neck, presenting a throw-it-on-and-go solution for a bad hair day with ultra-sleek glitter caps affixed with fishnet veils. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "7 Couture Beauty Looks That Defined the Paris Runways," 24 Jan. 2019 And the look on Jenny's face when her honey bunny pulls off his veil will be absolute TV gold. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Donnie Wahlberg Is Definitely the Rabbit on 'The Masked Singer.' Here's Why.," 12 Jan. 2019 From left: The Row’s sheer layers of chicness; Thick navy knots show Rei Kawakubo’s mastery at Comme des Garçons; Simone Rocha’s silk taffeta garment, topped off with a lacy veil; an off-the-shoulder gown at Valentino. Rory Satran, WSJ, "Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends," 5 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about veil

Dictionary Entries near veil






veiled medusa


Statistics for veil

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for veil

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!