a piece of opaque or transparent material worn over the face for concealment, for protection from the elements, or to enhance the appearance.
a piece of material worn so as to fall over the head and shoulders on each side of the face, forming a part of the headdress of a nun.
the life of a nun, especially a cloistered life.
something that covers, separates, screens, or conceals: a veil of smoke; the veil of death.
a mask, disguise, or pretense: to find fault under a veil of humor.
Botany, Anatomy, Zoology. a velum.
Mycology. a membrane that covers the immature mushroom of many fungi and breaks apart as the mushroom expands, leaving distinctive remnants on the cap, stalk, or stalk base.
Scot. and North England. a caul.
verb (used with object)
to cover or conceal with or as with a veil: She veiled her face in black. A heavy fog veiled the shoreline.
to hide the real nature of; mask; disguise: to veil one's intentions.
verb (used without object)
to don or wear a veil: In certain Islamic countries women must veil.
take the veil, to become a nun.

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English veile < Anglo-French < Latin vēla, neuter plural (taken in VL as feminine singular) of vēlum covering; (v.) Middle English veilen < Anglo-French veiler, derivative of veile

veilless, adjective
veillike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To veil
World English Dictionary
veil (veɪl)
1.  a piece of more or less transparent material, usually attached to a hat or headdress, used to conceal or protect a woman's face and head
2.  part of a nun's headdress falling round the face onto the shoulders
3.  something that covers, conceals, or separates; mask: a veil of reticence
4.  the veil the life of a nun in a religious order and the obligations entailed by it
5.  take the veil to become a nun
6.  botany Also called: velum a membranous structure, esp the thin layer of cells connecting the edge of a young mushroom cap with the stipe
7.  anatomy another word for caul
8.  See humeral veil
9.  (tr) to cover, conceal, or separate with or as if with a veil
10.  (intr) to wear or put on a veil
[C13: from Norman French veile, from Latin vēla sails, pl of vēlum a covering]

Veil (French vaɪl)
Simone (Annie) (simɔn). born 1927, French stateswoman; president of the European Parliament (1979--82): a survivor of Nazi concentration camps

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

early 13c., from Anglo-Fr. and O.N.Fr. veil (O.Fr. voile) "a head-covering," also "a sail," from L. vela, pl. of velum "sail, curtain, covering," from PIE base *weg- "to weave." Vela was mistaken in V.L. for a fem. sing. noun. The verb (1382) is from O.Fr. veler, voiller, from L. velare "to cover, veil,"
from velum. Figurative sense of "to conceal" (something immaterial) is recorded from 1530s. To take the veil "become a nun" is attested from early 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

veil (vāl)

  1. See caul.

  2. See velum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
veil   (vāl)  Pronunciation Key 
A membranous covering or part, especially a membrane surrounding the young mushrooms of certain basidiomycete fungi. In some species the membrane (called a partial veil) extends only from the stalk to the cap. As the cap expands, the veil breaks, leaving a ring called an annulus on the stalk and often scalelike pieces on the cap. These veil remnants are important for identifying species of mushrooms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see draw a veil over.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
We stand admiring it as it is now, a beautiful wreck beneath an ivy veil.
These sorts of studies are crucial to our field lifting the veil of imitation
  that dance education has relied on too long.
Drink from it and your veil of confusion will disappear.
They do not write behind a veil of careful academic prose that weighs and
  measures each sentence.
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature