Definition of covert in English:



  • 1Not openly acknowledged or displayed.

    ‘covert operations against the dictatorship’
    • ‘- 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.’
    • ‘Police are replacing the battering ram with the more covert ways of catching the dealers.’
    • ‘This seems to have been the thinking behind the reported covert operation to eliminate the leader in the mid-1990s.’
    • ‘Besides relying on information from residents, they also carry out covert and overt patrols.’
    • ‘Critics of the war have called for more covert action as an alternative to bombing.’
    • ‘Because the system is wholly passive, it's well suited to covert surveillance.’
    • ‘It's all about covert operations and leaving as little evidence and traces as possible.’
    • ‘But a covert Russian secret police agent discovers them and the chase is on.’
    • ‘During this period a few Swedish divers had carried out covert night dives on the wrecks.’
    • ‘You proceed with the covert actions, which I think are probably under way.’
    • ‘Many of our mechanisms to develop and deliver rights protection contain covert begging processes.’
    • ‘It is quite appropriate that the bill states what it does to govern the use of covert devices by the authorities.’
    • ‘It is people like you that the secret services choose for their most dangerous covert operations.’
    • ‘It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.’
    • ‘Clearly, this bill provides the victims of covert filming with an effective response.’
    • ‘First, environmental justifications for trade restrictions are sometimes little more than covert protectionism.’
    • ‘Similarly, the law cannot be used to address the growing problem of covert filming.’
    • ‘As a covert operative she made trips abroad to exploit her expertise in unconventional weapons.’
    • ‘The boat was sunk by a covert operations team to discourage other illegal aliens from making the trip.’
    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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  • 2Law
    (of a woman) married and under the authority and protection of her husband.


  • 1A thicket in which game can hide.

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

    • ‘Its belly and underwing coverts were dark, but his tail was red.’
    • ‘The bird was black above with a white eyebrow and limited white on the wing coverts.’
    • ‘The flight feathers are black, and the upper tail coverts and rump area are cobalt blue.’
    • ‘The name of these birds comes from the vivid red coloring of the wing coverts.’
    • ‘Females also have red wing coverts but to a lesser extent.’
    • ‘Males are mostly green with red sides to the body and red underwing coverts, with some blue in the wings and tail.’
    plume, quill
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Middle English (in the general senses ‘covered’ and ‘a cover’): from Old French, ‘covered’, past participle of covrir (see cover).