Definition of veil in English:

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Pronunciation: /veɪl/


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.
face covering, veiling;
in Spanish-speaking countries mantilla;
in Muslim & Hindu societies yashmak, purdah
1.1A piece of fabric forming part of a nun’s headdress, resting on the head and shoulders.
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, shield, curtain, layer, film, mantle, cloak, mask, blanket, shroud, canopy, cloud, blur, haze, mist, pall
1.3(In Jewish antiquity) the piece of precious cloth separating the sanctuary from the body of the Temple or the Tabernacle.
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.
2 Botany A membrane which 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.
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.


[with object]
1Cover with or as if 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, cover up, conceal, hide, secrete, camouflage, disguise, mask, screen, shield, cloak, blanket, shroud, enwrap, canopy, overlay;
obscure, shade, shadow, eclipse, cloud, blot out, block out, blank out, obliterate, overshadow
literary enshroud, mantle, bedim, benight, becloud, befog
rare obnubilate
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.
covert, surreptitious, hidden, concealed, disguised, camouflaged, masked, suppressed, underlying, unrevealed, implied, indirect, hinted at;
ill-defined, indistinct, vague, obscure, unclear



beyond the veil

In a mysterious or hidden place or state, especially the unknown state of life after death: Billy realized that his father had passed irrevocably beyond the veil
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 embarrassing or unpleasant): I will draw a veil over the cheerless days that followed
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.
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?



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).

  • Our word veil is from Latin vela, plural of velum ‘sail, covering, veil’. The first uses refer to the headdress of a nun, and take the veil, or become a nun, appears about a hundred years later. Christian brides have worn veils since around the 3rd century, taking the custom from ancient Rome. The expression beyond the veil, ‘in a mysterious or hidden state or place’, comes from the Bible. In ancient times the veil was the piece of precious cloth separating the innermost sanctuary from the rest of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The idea soon developed of this cloth representing a barrier between this life and the unknown state of existence after death, giving rise to the current phrase. To draw a veil over something dates from the early 18th century, and is the opposite of reveal (Late Middle English) which comes from Latin revelare ‘lay bare’ in the sense of ‘lifting the veil’.

Words that rhyme with veil

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

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