[adjective koh-vert, kuhv-ert; noun kuhv-ert, koh-vert]
- concealed; secret; disguised.
- covered; sheltered.
- Law. (of a wife) under the protection of one's husband.
Origin of covert
1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin coopertus, past participle of cooperīre to cover completely; see cover
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. clandestine, surreptitious, furtive.
Covert, related to cover, has historically been pronounced [kuhv-ert] /ˈkʌv ərt/, with [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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
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
Word Origin and History for covertness
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