"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[adj. koh-vert, kuhv-ert; n. kuhv-ert, koh-vert] /adj. ˈkoʊ vərt, ˈkʌv ərt; n. ˈkʌv ərt, ˈkoʊ vərt/
concealed; secret; disguised.
covered; sheltered.
Law. (of a wife) under the protection of one's husband.
a covering; cover.
a shelter or hiding place.
concealment or disguise.
Hunting. a thicket giving shelter to wild animals or game.
Also called tectrix. Ornithology. one of the small feathers that cover the bases of the large feathers of the wings and tail.
Origin of covert
1275-1325; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin coopertus, past participle of cooperīre to cover completely; see cover
Related forms
covertly, adverb
covertness, noun
Can be confused
covert, overt.
1. clandestine, surreptitious, furtive.
Pronunciation note
Covert, related to cover, has historically been pronounced
[kuhv-ert] /ˈkʌv ərt/ (Show IPA)
[uh] /ʌ/
the same stressed vowel found in cover. This
[uh] /ʌ/
is the traditional and unchallenged vowel in many other English words spelled with stressed o followed by v, voiced th, or a nasal in the same syllable, words of high frequency like love and above, mother and other, some and honey. The adjective covert, however, by analogy with overt
[oh-vurt, oh-vert] /oʊˈvɜrt, ˈoʊ vərt/
its semantic opposite, has developed the pronunciation
[koh-vert] /ˈkoʊ vərt/
perhaps because of the frequent coupling of the two terms in the news media. This is now the more common pronunciation for the adjective in American English, though not in British English, which retains the historical pronunciation. For the noun senses, less likely to appear in the news or to be contrasted with overt and its
[oh] /oʊ/
sound, the historical
[kuhv-ert] /ˈkʌv ərt/
remains the more frequent pronunciation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for covert
  • His work is suppressed by a scientific establishment with covert political aims.
  • But they also still do covert work in the dead of night.
  • There is another premise to the site, albeit a covert one: that dining out can be boring.
  • As a tsunami speeds on its covert way, undersea mountains and valleys may alter its course.
  • Yet indeed, the covert operations going mad nowadays.
  • Ensuring that trade is fair is harder when some companies enjoy the support, overt or covert, of a national government.
  • Police say their covert buying helps them to know when a new batch comes in.
  • Either way, the authorities will watch public opinion, if only because protest can become a covert form of opposition.
  • The best way to counter acting this threat is by doing small and direct covert operations.
  • Researchers have created a robotic fly for covert surveillance.
British Dictionary definitions for covert


concealed or secret: covert jealousy
(law) Compare feme covert, discovert
a shelter or disguise
a thicket or woodland providing shelter for game
short for covert cloth
(ornithol) any of the small feathers on the wings and tail of a bird that surround the bases of the larger feathers
a flock of coots
Derived Forms
covertly, adverb
covertness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French: covered, from covrir to cover
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for covert

c.1300, from Old French covert "hidden, obscure, underhanded," literally "covered," past participle of covrir "to cover" (see cover). Related: Covertly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for covert

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for covert

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with covert