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[kuhv-uh-nuh nt] /ˈkʌv ə nənt/
an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.
Law. an incidental clause in such an agreement.
Ecclesiastical. a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.
(initial capital letter) History/Historical.
  1. National Covenant.
  2. Solemn League and Covenant.
  1. the conditional promises made to humanity by God, as revealed in Scripture.
  2. the agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which God promised to protect them if they kept His law and were faithful to Him.
  1. a formal agreement of legal validity, especially one under seal.
  2. an early English form of action in suits involving sealed contracts.
verb (used without object)
to enter into a covenant.
verb (used with object)
to promise by covenant; pledge.
to stipulate.
Origin of covenant
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, noun use of present participle of covenir < Latin convenīre to come together, agree; see -ant
Related forms
[kuhv-uh-nan-tl] /ˌkʌv əˈnæn tl/ (Show IPA),
1. treaty, pact, convention. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for covenantal
Contemporary Examples
  • But this begs the question, precisely, of how to understand the covenantal mission and how to engender it.

Historical Examples
  • Cooper , for example, discusses her ideas on the relevance of covenantal relationships for nursing ethics.

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
  • Entering these covenantal relationships obligates us to mutually live and grow in caring.

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
British Dictionary definitions for covenantal


a binding agreement; contract
  1. an agreement in writing under seal, as to pay a stated annual sum to a charity
  2. a particular clause in such an agreement, esp in a lease
(in early English law) an action in which damages were sought for breach of a sealed agreement
(Bible) God's promise to the Israelites and their commitment to worship him alone
to agree to a covenant (concerning)
Derived Forms
covenantal (ˌkʌvəˈnæntəl) adjective
covenantally, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from covenir to agree, from Latin convenīre to come together, make an agreement; see convene


(Scot, history) any of the bonds entered into by Scottish Presbyterians to defend their religion, esp one in 1638 (National Covenant) and one of 1643 (Solemn League and Covenant)
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
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Word Origin and History for covenantal



c.1300, from Old French covenant "agreement," originally present participle of covenir "agree, meet," from Latin convenire "come together" (see convene). Applied in Scripture to God's arrangements with man as a translation of Latin testamentum, Greek diatheke, both rendering Hebrew berith (though testament also is used for the same word in different places).



c.1300, from covenant (n.). Related: Covenanted; covenanting. Covenanter (1638) was used especially in reference to Scottish Presbyterians who signed the Solemn League and Covenant (1643) for the defense and furtherance of their cause.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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covenantal in Culture

covenant definition

Literally, a contract. In the Bible, an agreement between God and his people, in which God makes promises to his people and, usually, requires certain conduct from them. In the Old Testament, God made agreements with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. To Noah, he promised that he would never again destroy the Earth with a flood. He promised Abraham that he would become the ancestor of a great nation, provided Abraham went to the place God showed him and sealed the covenant by circumcision of all the males of the nation. To Moses, God said that the Israelites would reach the Promised Land but must obey the Mosaic law. In the New Testament, God promised salvation to those who believe in Jesus.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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