Definition of coverture in English:



  • 1literary [mass noun] Protective or concealing covering.

    • ‘Secondly, it allows us to view a world beyond coverture and crime which has consumed so much scholarly energy in recent years.’
    • ‘You must have indeed shed a silent tear and perhaps given a bit of help to those who crave for your covertures.’
    • ‘They attacked suddenly and skilfully using natural covertures, destroy our positions one after another by the direct fire.’
    • ‘With a lucid discussion of the constraints of coverture, Cott undercuts such symbolism and outlines the ironies which underlay.’
  • 2Law
    historical The legal status of a married woman, considered to be under her husband's protection and authority.

    • ‘Under coverture a married woman could not sue or be sued unless her husband was party to the suit.’
    • ‘With few exceptions, coverture is now dead and gone.’
    • ‘Feminist reformers also challenged coverture by invoking equality.’
    • ‘A husband could make a special legal claim under coverture if his wife was injured in an accident.’
    • ‘After all, it is impossible to understand the doctrine of coverture.’


Middle English (originally denoting a coverlet or garment): from Old French, from covrir to cover.