• synonyms


See more synonyms for cove on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small indentation or recess in the shoreline of a sea, lake, or river.
  2. a sheltered nook.
  3. a hollow or recess in a mountain; cave; cavern.
  4. a narrow pass between woods or hills.
  5. a sheltered area between woods or hills.
  6. Architecture.
    1. a concave surface or molding.
    2. a concave surface forming part of a ceiling at its edge so as to eliminate the usual interior angle between the wall and ceiling.
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verb (used with or without object), coved, cov·ing.
  1. to make or become a cove.
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Origin of cove1

before 900; Middle English; Old English cofa cave, den, closet; cognate with Old Norse kofi hut, Greek gýpē cave
Can be confusedbay cove gulf inlet


  1. British Slang. a person; fellow.
  2. Australian Slang. a manager, especially of a sheep station.
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Origin of cove2

1560–70; said to be < Romany kova creature
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cove

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Though the cove was more quiet than the ocean, yet it was fearful enough, even there.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • I don't like that schooner, Jess, and its ugly crew, lying there in the Cove.

  • Beyond, on the waters of the Cove, the Southern Cross rode at anchor.

  • By the time Dan was put ashore on the beach of the Cove it was afternoon.

  • No cove, no creek even, opened its friendly arms to receive them.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for cove


  1. a small bay or inlet, usually between rocky headlands
  2. a narrow cavern formed in the sides of cliffs, mountains, etc, usually by erosion
  3. a sheltered place
  4. Also called: coving architect a concave curved surface between the wall and ceiling of a room
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  1. (tr) to form an architectural cove in
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Word Origin

Old English cofa; related to Old Norse kofi, Old High German kubisi tent


  1. old-fashioned, slang, British and Australian a fellow; chap
  2. Australian history an overseer of convict labourers
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Word Origin

C16: probably from Romany kova thing, person
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 cove


early 14c., "den, cave," from Old English cofa "small chamber, cell," from Proto-Germanic *kubon (cf. Old High German kubisi "tent, hut," German Koben "pigsty," Old Norse kofi "hut, shed"). Extension of meaning to "small bay" is 1580s, apparently via Scottish dialectal meaning "small hollow place in coastal rocks" (a survival of an Old English secondary sense).

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"fellow, chap," slang from at least 1560s, said to be from Romany (Gypsy) cova "that man."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper