American English

Definition of cover verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they cover
    he / she / it covers
    past simple covered
    -ing form covering
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  1. 1[transitive] cover something (with something) to place something over or in front of something in order to hide or protect it Cover the chicken loosely with foil. She covered her face with her hands. (figurative) He laughed to cover (= hide) his nervousness. Thesaurushideconceal cover disguise mask camouflageThese words all mean to put or keep someone or something in a place where they/it cannot be seen or found, or to keep the truth or your feelings secret.hide to put or keep someone or something in a place where they/it cannot be seen or found; to keep something secret, especially your feelings:He hid the letter in a drawer. She hid her disappointment from her brother.conceal (formal) to hide someone or something; to keep something secret:The paintings were concealed beneath a thick layer of plaster. Tim could barely conceal his disappointment. When it is being used to talk about emotions, conceal is often used in negative statements.cover to place something over or in front of something in order to hide it:She covered her face with her hands.disguise to hide or change the nature of something, so that it cannot be recognized:He tried to disguise his accent.mask to hide a feeling, smell, fact, etc. so that it cannot be easily seen or noticed:She masked her anger with a smile.camouflage to hide someone or something by making them/it look like the things around, or like something else:The soldiers camouflaged themselves with leaves and twigs.Patterns to hide/conceal/mask something behind something to hide/conceal something under something to hide/conceal something from somebody to hide/conceal/disguise/mask the truth/the fact that… to hide/conceal/disguise/mask your feelings
  2. spread over surface
  3. 2[transitive] cover something to lie or spread over the surface of something Snow covered the ground. Much of the country is covered by forest.
  4. 3[transitive] to put or spread a layer of liquid, dust, etc. on someone or something cover somebody/something in something The players were soon covered in mud. cover somebody/something with something The wind blew in from the desert and covered everything with sand.
  5. include
  6. 4[transitive] cover something to include something; to deal with something The survey covers all aspects of the business. The lectures covered a lot of ground (= a lot of material, subjects, etc.). the sales team covering the northern part of the country (= selling to people in that area) Do the rules cover (= do they apply to) a case like this?
  7. money
  8. 5[transitive] cover something to be or provide enough money for something $100 should cover your expenses. Your parents will have to cover your tuition fees. The show barely covered its costs.
  9. distance/area
  10. 6[transitive] cover something to travel the distance mentioned By sunset we had covered thirty miles. They walked for a long time and covered a good deal of ground.
  11. 7[transitive] cover something to spread over the area mentioned The reserve covers an area of some 1,140 square miles.
  12. report news
  13. 8[transitive] cover something to report on an event for television, a newspaper, etc.; to show an event on television She's covering the party's annual conference. The station will cover all the major games of the tournament.
  14. for someone
  15. 9[intransitive] cover for somebody to do someone's work or duties while they are away I'm covering for Jane while she's on leave.
  16. 10[intransitive] cover for somebody to invent a lie or an excuse that will stop someone from getting into trouble I have to go out for a minute—will you cover for me if anyone asks where I am?
  17. with insurance
  18. 11[transitive] to protect someone against loss, injury, etc. by insurance cover somebody/something (against/for something) Are you fully covered for fire and theft? cover somebody/something to do something Does this policy cover my husband to drive?
  19. against blame
  20. 12[transitive] cover yourself (against something) to take action in order to protect yourself against being blamed for something One reason doctors take temperatures is to cover themselves against negligence claims.
  21. with gun
  22. 13[transitive] cover somebody to protect someone by threatening to shoot at anyone who tries to attack them Cover me while I move forward. The artillery gave us covering fire (= shot to protect us).
  23. 14[transitive] cover somebody/something to aim a gun at a place or person so that no one can escape or shoot The police covered the exits to the building. Don't move—we've got you covered!
  24. song
  25. 15[transitive] cover something to record or perform a new version of a song that was originally recorded by another band or singer They've covered an old Rolling Stones number.
  26. Idioms
    cover all the bases
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    to consider and deal with all the things that could happen or could be needed when you are arranging something I am confident this contract covers all the bases.
    cover your back (informal)
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    to realize that you may be blamed or criticized for something later and take action to avoid this Get everything in writing in order to cover your back.
    cover/hide a multitude of sins (often humorous)
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    to hide the real situation or facts when these are not good or pleasant She was dressed in loose comfortable clothes that hid a multitude of sins.
    cover your tracks
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    to try and hide what you have done, because you do not want other people to find out about it He had attempted to cover his tracks by making her death appear like suicide.
    Phrasal Verbscover somethingincover somethingovercover upcover somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: cover