American English

Definition of cover noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a thing that is put over or on another thing, usually to protect it or to decorate it a cushion cover a plastic waterproof cover for the stroller see also dust cover, slip cover
  2. 2[uncountable] a place that provides shelter from bad weather or protection from an attack Everyone ran for cover when it started to rain. The climbers took cover from the storm in a cave. After the explosion the street was full of people running for cover.
  3. of book
  4. 3[countable] the outside of a book or a magazine the front/back cover Her face was on the cover (= the front cover) of every magazine. He always reads the paper from cover to cover (= everything in it).
  5. with weapons
  6. 4[uncountable] support and protection that is provided when someone is attacking or in danger of being attacked The ships needed air cover (= protection by military planes) once they reached enemy waters.
  7. trees/plants
  8. 5[uncountable] trees and plants that grow on an area of land The total forest cover of the earth is decreasing. Zebras and other animals were standing very still in broken cover.
  9. cloud/snow
  10. 6[uncountable] the fact of the sky being covered with cloud or the ground with snow Fog and low cloud cover are expected this afternoon. In this area there is snow cover for six months of the year.
  11. on bed
  12. 7the covers [plural] the sheets, blankets, etc. on a bed She threw back the covers and leapt out of bed. He climbed into the cold bed and snuggled beneath the covers.
  13. song
  14. 8[countable] = cover version
  15. hiding something
  16. 9[countable, usually singular] cover (for something) activities or behavior that seem honest or true but that hide someone's real identity or feelings, or that hide something illegal His work as a civil servant was a cover for his activities as a spy. Her overconfident attitude was a cover for her nervousness. It would only take one phone call to blow their cover (= make known their true identities and what they were really doing).
  17. for someone's work
  18. 10[uncountable] the fact of someone doing another person's job when they are away or when there are not enough staff It's the manager's job to organize cover for staff who are absent. Ambulance drivers provided only emergency cover during the dispute.
  19. Idioms
    break cover
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    to leave a place that you have been hiding in, usually at a high speed The vehicles broke cover and headed toward the enemy's headquarters.
    don't judge a book by its cover (saying)
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    used to say that you should not form an opinion about someone or something from their appearance only
      under cover
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    1. 1pretending to be someone else in order to do something secretly a police officer working under cover
    2. 2under a structure that gives protection from the weather Start growing the plants indoors or under cover.
    under (the) cover of something
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    hidden or protected by something Later, under cover of darkness, they crept into the house.
    under separate cover (business)
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    in a separate envelope The information you requested is being forwarded to you under separate cover.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: cover