covert

[ adjective koh-vert, kuhv-ert; noun kuhv-ert, koh-vert ]
/ adjective ˈkoʊ vərt, ˈkʌv ərt; noun ˈkʌv ərt, ˈkoʊ vərt /

adjective

noun

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Origin of covert

1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin coopertus, past participle of cooperīre to cover completely; see cover

pronunciation note for covert

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.

OTHER WORDS FROM covert

co·vert·ly, adverbco·vert·ness, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH covert

covert overt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for covertly

British Dictionary definitions for covertly

covert
/ (ˈkʌvət) /

adjective

concealed or secretcovert jealousy
law Compare feme covert, discovert

noun

Derived forms of covert

covertly, adverbcovertness, noun

Word Origin for covert

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