Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French coverir, covrir, from Latin cooperire, from co- + operire to close, cover
Date: 13th century
a. to guard from attack
(1) to have within the range of one's guns ; command
(2) to hold within range of an aimed firearm
(1) to afford protection or security to ; insure
(2) to afford protection against or compensation for <a policy covering loss by fire> d. (1) to guard (an opponent) in order to obstruct a play <a linebacker assigned to cover the tight end> (2) to be in position to receive a throw to (a base in baseball) <the shortstop was covering second> e. (1) to make provision for (a demand or charge) by means of a reserve or deposit <your balance is insufficient to cover the check> (2) to maintain a check on especially by patrolling (3) to protect by contrivance or expedient 2. a. to hide from sight or knowledge ; conceal <cover up a scandal> b. to lie over ; envelop <a blanket covering her legs> 3. to lay or spread something over ; overlay <cover the seed bed with straw> 4. a. to spread over <snow covered the hills> b. to appear here and there on the surface of <a region covered with lakes> 5. to place or set a cover or covering over <cover the pot> 6. a. to copulate with (a female animal) <a horse covers a mare> b. to sit on and incubate (eggs) 7. to invest with a large or excessive amount of something <covered herself with glory> 8. to play a higher-ranking card on (a previously played card) 9. to have sufficient scope to include or take into account <an examination covering a full year's work> 10. to deal with ; treat <material covered in the first chapter> 11. a. to have as one's territory or field of activity <one sales rep covers the whole state> b. to report news about <reporters covering the campaign> 12. to pass over ; traverse <the hikers covered 12 miles that day> 13. to defray the cost of <cover expenses> 14. to place one's stake in equal jeopardy with in a bet 15. to buy securities or commodities for delivery against (an earlier short sale) 16. to record or perform a cover of (a song) intransitive verb 1. to conceal something illicit, blameworthy, or embarrassing from notice — usually used with up 2. to act as a substitute or replacement during an absence • coverable adjective • coverer noun II. noun Usage: often attributive Date: 14th century 1. something that protects, shelters, or guards: as a. natural shelter for an animal; also the factors that provide such shelter b. (1) a position or situation affording protection from enemy fire (2) the protection offered by airplanes in tactical support of a military operation c. British coverage 1a, b, 2a 2. something that is placed over or about another thing: a. lid, top b. a binding or case for a book or the analogous part of a magazine; also the front or back of such a binding c. an overlay or outer layer especially for protection <a mattress cover> d. a tablecloth and the other table accessories e. cover charge f. roof g. a cloth used on a bed for warmth or for decoration — usually used in plural <lying under the covers> h. something (as vegetation or snow) that covers the ground i. the extent to which clouds obscure the sky 3. a. something that conceals or obscures <under cover of darkness> b. a masking device ; pretext <the project was a cover for intelligence operations> 4. an envelope or wrapper for mail 5. one who substitutes for another during an absence 6. a recording or performance of a song previously recorded by another performer • coverless adjective
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.