[ veyl ]
See synonyms for: veilveiledveiling on

  1. a piece of opaque or transparent material worn over the face for concealment, for protection from the elements, or to enhance the appearance.

  2. a piece of material worn so as to fall over the head and shoulders on each side of the face, forming a part of the headdress of a nun.

  1. the life of a nun, especially a cloistered life.

  2. something that covers, separates, screens, or conceals: a veil of smoke; the veil of death.

  3. a mask, disguise, or pretense: to find fault under a veil of humor.

  4. Botany, Anatomy, Zoology. a velum.

  5. Mycology. a membrane that covers the immature mushroom of many fungi and breaks apart as the mushroom expands, leaving distinctive remnants on the cap, stalk, or stalk base.

  6. Scot. and North England. a caul.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cover or conceal with or as with a veil: She veiled her face in black. A heavy fog veiled the shoreline.

  2. to hide the real nature of; mask; disguise: to veil one's intentions.

verb (used without object)
  1. to don or wear a veil: In certain Islamic countries women must veil.

Idioms about veil

  1. take the veil, to become a nun.

Origin of veil

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English veile<Anglo-French <Latin vēla, neuter plural (taken in VL as feminine singular) of vēlum covering; (v.) Middle English veilen<Anglo-French veiler, derivative of veile

Other words from veil

  • veilless, adjective
  • veillike, adjective

Words that may be confused with veil

Words Nearby veil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use veil in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for veil (1 of 2)


/ (veɪl) /

  1. a piece of more or less transparent material, usually attached to a hat or headdress, used to conceal or protect a woman's face and head

  2. part of a nun's headdress falling round the face onto the shoulders

  1. something that covers, conceals, or separates; mask: a veil of reticence

  2. the veil the life of a nun in a religious order and the obligations entailed by it

  3. take the veil to become a nun

  4. Also called: velum botany a membranous structure, esp the thin layer of cells connecting the edge of a young mushroom cap with the stipe

  5. anatomy another word for caul

  1. (tr) to cover, conceal, or separate with or as if with a veil

  2. (intr) to wear or put on a veil

Origin of veil

C13: from Norman French veile, from Latin vēla sails, pl of vēlum a covering

Derived forms of veil

  • veiler, noun
  • veilless, adjective
  • veil-like, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Veil (2 of 2)


/ (French vaɪl) /

  1. Simone (Annie) (simɔn). born 1927, French stateswoman; president of the European Parliament (1979–82): a survivor of Nazi concentration camps

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

Scientific definitions for veil


[ vāl ]

  1. A membranous covering or part, especially a membrane surrounding the young mushrooms of certain basidiomycete fungi. In some species the membrane (called a partial veil) extends only from the stalk to the cap. As the cap expands, the veil breaks, leaving a ring called an annulus on the stalk and often scalelike pieces on the cap. These veil remnants are important for identifying species of mushrooms.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with veil


see draw a veil over.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.