[ kuhv-uh-nuhnt ]
See synonyms for: covenantcovenants on

  1. an agreement or promise, usually formal, between two or more people or groups to do or not do something specified.

  2. Law. a secondary clause in a legal contract.

  1. Ecclesiastical. a solemn agreement between the members of a Christian church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.

  2. Covenant, History/Historical.

  3. Bible.

    • any of the promises made by God at different times, such as those made to Noah, Abraham, or David and their descendants, or the new covenant inaugurated by Christ.

    • the agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which God promised to bless and protect them if they faithfully kept the law God gave them.

  4. Law.

    • a formal agreement of legal validity, especially one under seal.

    • an early English form of lawsuit involving sealed contracts.

verb (used with object)
  1. to agree or promise, as in a contract or covenant; pledge (usually followed by to): In our marriage vows, we covenanted to take care of each other in all circumstances.

  2. to stipulate or specify in a contract: The covenanted price has been paid.

verb (used without object)
  1. to enter into an agreement or covenant: When we take the pledge, we do not covenant with an institution or with an ideal, but with each other.

Origin of covenant

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French, noun use of convenant, covenant “agreeing, fitting,” present participle of convenir, covenir “to agree, meet, suit,” from Latin convenīre “to be suitable, come together”; see convene

Other words for covenant

Other words from covenant

  • cov·e·nan·tal [kuhv-uh-nan-tl], /ˌkʌv əˈnæn tl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use covenant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for covenant (1 of 2)


/ (ˈkʌvənənt) /

  1. a binding agreement; contract

  2. law

    • an agreement in writing under seal, as to pay a stated annual sum to a charity

    • a particular clause in such an agreement, esp in a lease

  1. (in early English law) an action in which damages were sought for breach of a sealed agreement

  2. Bible God's promise to the Israelites and their commitment to worship him alone

  1. to agree to a covenant (concerning)

Origin of covenant

C13: from Old French, from covenir to agree, from Latin convenīre to come together, make an agreement; see convene

Derived forms of covenant

  • covenantal (ˌkʌvəˈnæntəl), adjective
  • covenantally, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for Covenant (2 of 2)


/ (ˈkʌvənənt) /

  1. 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

Cultural definitions for covenant


Literally, a contract. In the Bible (see also 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 (see also salvation) to those who believe in Jesus.

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