Definition of covert in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkʌvət//ˈkəʊvəːt/


Pronunciation /ˈkʌvət//ˈkəʊvəːt/
  • Not openly acknowledged or displayed.

    ‘covert operations against the dictatorship’
    • ‘Critics of the war have called for more covert action as an alternative to bombing.’
    • ‘It is quite appropriate that the bill states what it does to govern the use of covert devices by the authorities.’
    • ‘Many of our mechanisms to develop and deliver rights protection contain covert begging processes.’
    • ‘It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.’
    • ‘During this period a few Swedish divers had carried out covert night dives on the wrecks.’
    • ‘The boat was sunk by a covert operations team to discourage other illegal aliens from making the trip.’
    • ‘Besides relying on information from residents, they also carry out covert and overt patrols.’
    • ‘This seems to have been the thinking behind the reported covert operation to eliminate the leader in the mid-1990s.’
    • ‘Police are replacing the battering ram with the more covert ways of catching the dealers.’
    • ‘You proceed with the covert actions, which I think are probably under way.’
    • ‘Because the system is wholly passive, it's well suited to covert surveillance.’
    • ‘Clearly, this bill provides the victims of covert filming with an effective response.’
    • ‘But a covert Russian secret police agent discovers them and the chase is on.’
    • ‘- US Federal Law prohibits the unauthorised disclosure of a covert agent's name.’
    • ‘Police have been monitoring the site and using covert surveillance to trap the troublemakers.’
    • ‘It's all about covert operations and leaving as little evidence and traces as possible.’
    • ‘It is people like you that the secret services choose for their most dangerous covert operations.’
    • ‘Similarly, the law cannot be used to address the growing problem of covert filming.’
    • ‘First, environmental justifications for trade restrictions are sometimes little more than covert protectionism.’
    • ‘As a covert operative she made trips abroad to exploit her expertise in unconventional weapons.’
    secret, furtive, clandestine, surreptitious, stealthy, cloak-and-dagger, hole-and-corner, hole-in-the-corner, closet, behind-the-scenes, backstairs, back-alley, under-the-table, hugger-mugger, concealed, hidden, private
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Pronunciation /ˈkʌvə//ˈkʌvət/
  • 1A thicket in which game can hide.

    • ‘The only man to poach another's foxes was one whose own coverts were bare, never a poor man looking for his dinner.’
    • ‘He can capably hunt bobwhite quail and pheasants in the brushy coverts.’
    • ‘He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.’
    • ‘In the early nineteenth-century the area was described as a ‘first-rate covert for game and a favourable resort of sportsmen.’’
    • ‘So hunts moved into direct land management, buying and planting small pieces of rough scrub as coverts.’
    • ‘Knowing he was in there we called up the beaters and they went through the covert from end to end.’
    • ‘He whirred from his seat like a surprised partridge beaten from a covert.’
    • ‘Landowners who did not hunt were still expected to plant and maintain gorse coverts.’
    • ‘I couldn't help but admire the beautifully laid out game crops and newly-planted coverts.’
    • ‘Mounted hunters and foot followers, accompanied by novice hounds and men wielding whips and spades, surround fox coverts at dawn.’
    undergrowth, vegetation, shrubbery, greenery, ground cover, underwood, copsewood, brushwood, brush, scrub, underscrub
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  • 2Ornithology
    A feather covering the base of a main flight or tail feather of a bird.

    • ‘Its belly and underwing coverts were dark, but his tail was red.’
    • ‘The name of these birds comes from the vivid red coloring of the wing coverts.’
    • ‘Males are mostly green with red sides to the body and red underwing coverts, with some blue in the wings and tail.’
    • ‘The flight feathers are black, and the upper tail coverts and rump area are cobalt blue.’
    • ‘Females also have red wing coverts but to a lesser extent.’
    • ‘The bird was black above with a white eyebrow and limited white on the wing coverts.’
    plume, quill
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  • 3rare A flock of coots.

    ‘it is a good omen when a covert of coots have taken to any particular locality’
    • ‘A covert of coots floats among the posts.’
    • ‘When we reached this place the smew had joined a covert of coots.’
    • ‘Large coverts of coots frequent the open waters.’


Middle English (in the general senses ‘covered’ and ‘a cover’): from Old French, ‘covered’, past participle of covrir (see cover).