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verb (used with object)
  1. to let sink; lower.
  2. Archaic. to take off or doff (one's hat), as in respect or submission.

Origin of vail1

1300–50; Middle English valen, aphetic variant of avalen (now obsolete) < Middle French avaler to move down, verbal derivative of phrase a val down (literally, to the valley) (a to (< Latin ad) + val vale)


verb (used with or without object)
  1. to be of use or profit; avail.
  1. a tip; gratuity.

Origin of vail2

1250–1300; Middle English; aphetic variant of avail


  1. a veil.
verb (used with object)
  1. to veil.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vailed

Historical Examples

  • As he entered Lyon's room, Witzig saw a lady seated near the door, vailed and evidently waiting for some one.

    The Struggle for Missouri

    John McElroy

  • And still the vailed figure at the window sat rigidly there, uttering no cry, shedding no tears.

    A Changed Heart

    May Agnes Fleming

  • An hour afterward, Mr. Blake left his office by the back-door, accompanied by the vailed lady.

    A Changed Heart

    May Agnes Fleming

  • A lamp, vailed under a semi-opaque shade, served only to render more visible the shadows of this strange chamber.

  • And kind and loving were Harold's looks and brief words, as he rode with vailed bonnet through the swarming streets.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for vailed


verb (tr) obsolete
  1. to lower (something, such as a weapon), esp as a sign of deference or submission
  2. to remove (the hat, cap, etc) as a mark of respect or meekness

Word Origin

c14 valen, from obsolete avalen, from Old French avaler to let fall, from Latin ad vallem, literally: to the valley, that is, down, from ad to + vallis valley


noun, verb
  1. an archaic word for avail


noun, verb
  1. an archaic spelling of veil
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 vailed



"advantage, profit," early 15c., from vail (v.) "to be of use or service" (c.1300), from Old French vail, from valoir "to be of value or worth" (see value (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper