Definition of veil in English:


Syllabification: veil
Pronunciation: /vāl


  • 1A piece of fine material worn by women to protect or conceal the face: a white bridal veil
    More example sentences
    • The simple veil headpiece works great with elaborate bridal gowns since the veil does not detract from the overall look.
    • Women wear long dresses with embroidered bodices and side panels, and tall hats with long white veils.
    • Black party hats with veils made of black pantyhose or some other translucent material can also be made.
    mask, scarf, kerchief, head covering, headdress; dupatta, purdah, mantilla, chador, hijab, niqab, yashmak
  • 1.1A piece of linen or other fabric forming part of a nun’s headdress, resting on the head and shoulders.
    More example sentences
    • And the nuns had black uniforms and black and white veils, which disguised their faces and covered their hair.
  • 1.2A thing that conceals, disguises, or obscures something: shrouded in an eerie veil of mist
    More example sentences
    • I looked up at the beautiful, full moon, partially obscured by a thin veil of mist, and found what I was looking for.
    • If successful, Stardust will become only the third spacecraft to capture such a close view of the dark heart of a comet, normally obscured by a bright veil of dust and gas.
    • Tessa was driving, squinting through the veil of rain that obscured all vision not 50 yards ahead.
    covering, cover, screen, curtain, mantle, cloak, mask, blanket, shroud, canopy, cloud, pall
  • 1.3 Botany A membrane that is attached to the immature fruiting body of some toadstools and ruptures in the course of development, either ( universal veil) enclosing the whole fruiting body or ( partial veil) joining the edges of the cap to the stalk.
    More example sentences
    • Extending from the stem to the margin of the cap, and covering the gills, is the partial veil - a membranaceous, white texture of varying thickness.
    • The English name refers to the gossamer veil which protects the gills when the cap is in its unexpanded state, and which bears some resemblance to a spider's web.
  • 1.4(In Jewish antiquity) the piece of precious cloth separating the sanctuary from the body of the Temple or the Tabernacle.
    More example sentences
    • And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
    • Jesus' death was immediately followed by the veil of the temple being tom in two, from top to bottom.
    • Hebrews revisits two emphases from recent weeks: the new covenant and the sanctuary veil.


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  • 1Cover with or as though with a veil: she veiled her face
    More example sentences
    • Unexpectedly, a cover of sadness veiled her eyes and her voice took a gloomy turn.
    • In each work, the encrusted outer coating veils a delicate drama of line, light and shadow that takes place just beneath the surface.
    • Stephens veils the pastoral subjects with milky washes that streak the surface, and a brown glaze that drips languorously down it.
    envelop, surround, swathe, enfold, cover, conceal, hide, screen, shield, cloak, blanket, shroud; obscure
    literary enshroud, mantle
  • 1.1 (usually as adjective veiled) Partially conceal, disguise, or obscure: a thinly veiled threat
    More example sentences
    • Its mention of ‘high-profile cases’ was a thinly veiled reference to Andrew.
    • So far it looks like a thinly veiled threat to drag the process out in legalistic wranglings.
    • During his brief stop, Howard issued two thinly veiled threats.
    disguised, camouflaged, masked, covert, hidden, concealed, suppressed, underlying, implicit, implied, indirect; invisible, undetectable


beyond the veil

In a mysterious or hidden place or state, especially the unknown state of life after death.
More example sentences
  • Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race?
  • The Ghost made eye contact with no one and offered not one single wisdom from beyond the veil.
  • You know, I believe that a lot of paranormal experiences are definitely due to interdimensional glimpses and interaction between our energies and those beyond the veil of this dimension.

draw a veil over

Avoid discussing or calling attention to (something), especially because it is embarrassing or unpleasant.
More example sentences
  • Anyone can have an off day, and we'll draw a veil over which one of us it was.
  • Mr Khatami unintentionally drew a veil over a system that everyone knows is terrible.
  • After a humiliating pasting at the by-election earlier this year, where they didn't just lose the MSP seat but slumped into third place, one would have thought Labour would have been keen to draw a veil over a memorably inept campaign.

take the veil

Become a nun.
More example sentences
  • As it happened, her friend and counselor there, Mother Dolores, was none other than former actress Dolores Hart, the fresh-faced beauty who had given Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in ‘Loving You ‘before taking the veil.’
  • But the way some women go on, you'd think getting married was a combination of taking the veil - all that noble self-denying sacrifice - and volunteering for lifelong char lady status.
  • Does she still want to take the veil / And clothe herself in white and grey?



More example sentences
  • Those hoodless and veilless are bald or white haired, to a woman, to a man.
  • Three women who were caught veilless were bound to stakes and exposed to a pious mob which threw stones until the women died.
  • Others, clad in stylish jeans and leather jackets stand in front of the stage, drinking bootleg liquor and swaying to the music along with their veilless girlfriends.


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French veil(e), from Latin vela, plural of velum (see velum).

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