Definition of veil in English:

veil

noun

  • 1A piece of fine material worn by women to protect or conceal the face.

    ‘a white bridal veil’
    • ‘It was a caricature of Diedra, in her usual blue and grey shipsuit, but with a white bridal veil flowing behind her onto the floor.’
    • ‘Trembling brush strokes imply human frailty, just as the screen-like haze evokes a veil drawn over more troubled memories.’
    • ‘Women wear long dresses with embroidered bodices and side panels, and tall hats with long white veils.’
    • ‘She was entirely covered from head to toe, her hands in long black gloves, her head shrouded in a white veil, with two small eye slits.’
    • ‘Despite a gloomy weather forecast, the sun shone, and the very long, winding, narrow lanes festooned with mayflower like bridal veils, were negotiated without meeting any traffic coming the other way.’
    • ‘My hair was in ringlets, pinned to my head under the gauzy material of a veil, and the dried roses in my hands released the odd petal.’
    • ‘The simple veil headpiece works great with elaborate bridal gowns since the veil does not detract from the overall look.’
    • ‘It was after the ceremony that the veil was lifted and the groom and bride were able to kiss which is the symbol of a beginning of a physical relationship.’
    • ‘A helper was on hand, not to tame the bridal veil but to dispose of the accumulating wrappers.’
    • ‘For a dinner of state, like tonight, the dancers were covered in light, flowing material with veils, only their faces showing.’
    • ‘Because she was protected by a red veil, Veiel concluded that it was caused by the sun's chemical rays.’
    • ‘I gave him a wide eyed innocent stare from under my bridal white veil.’
    • ‘Like Nana's clothed bathing, the veil protects her from invasive gazes.’
    • ‘She wore a long, fawn-coloured dust-cloak, a black, close-fitting toque, and a dark veil which concealed the greater part of her face.’
    • ‘The Monteratsch Glacier spread down from it like a silky, white, bridal veil.’
    • ‘She wore a newly fashioned gown of shimmering white, a delicate veil and a golden circlet.’
    • ‘N'gone, El Hadji's new wife, is dressed for a Western white wedding and her face is covered with a bridal veil.’
    • ‘Black party hats with veils made of black pantyhose or some other translucent material can also be made.’
    • ‘The school dental service began in 1921-two years later the first dental nurses, dressed in white smocks and veils, marched into schools in Hawke's Bay.’
    • ‘Traditionally, the bride wears a white gown and a veil.’
    face covering, veiling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A piece of fabric forming part of a nun's headdress, resting on the head and shoulders.
      • ‘And the nuns had black uniforms and black and white veils, which disguised their faces and covered their hair.’
    2. 1.2 A thing that conceals, disguises, or obscures something.
      ‘shrouded in an eerie veil of mist’
      • ‘The music behind him feels bolder and more courageous, too, as the veil of obscurity that guarded so much of their previous releases has vanished.’
      • ‘Tessa was driving, squinting through the veil of rain that obscured all vision not 50 yards ahead.’
      • ‘I found a parrotfish hiding in a cave, debris from its diaphanous veil of mucus wafting back and forth with each slight swell.’
      • ‘The veil is a semi-transparent cloth screen worked with a grid of threads, set up between the artist and his subject, which allows him to plot what he sees onto gridded paper or a gridded canvas.’
      • ‘Now we were driving through bleak glens with stunted conifers, gushing ice-melt streams and mist snagged in tattered veils on the crags like the wraiths of lost warriors.’
      • ‘If successful, Stardust will become only the third spacecraft to capture such a close view of the dark heart of a comet, normally obscured by a bright veil of dust and gas.’
      • ‘Ayrshire landmark Ailsa Craig is swathed in a layer of mist, thick enough to maintain a veil of secrecy.’
      • ‘He was clad in a black ragged cloak that hung around his body like a veil of darkness.’
      • ‘Other maps, drafted in expectation of development, cast a spectral veil of streets over the rural landscape.’
      • ‘Floaters are described by patients as fine dots, veils, cobwebs, clouds, or strings.’
      • ‘He embarked on his trip to the North Pole under a veil of secrecy to avoid any attempt of the ‘prize’ being robbed from him by another solo competitor.’
      • ‘Shame has been the veil through which many of us have viewed our naked bodies at times.’
      • ‘Behind them was what looked like a veil of leaves.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the elected representatives are no less prone to abuse power and to enrich themselves behind the veil of ‘official secrecy’.’
      • ‘The horse stopped and beneath the veil of leaves, Legacy could see her brother's well worn leather boots.’
      • ‘I looked up at the beautiful, full moon, partially obscured by a thin veil of mist, and found what I was looking for.’
      • ‘The sunset was no longer visible now; the storm had obscured it with its veil of darkness.’
      • ‘They were now all crouching just behind a thin veil of vegetation.’
      • ‘It would only disguise qualitative assessment behind the veil of a quantitative expression.’
      • ‘A glitch at Amazon's Canadian site has briefly lifted the veil of anonymity which protected the identities of reviewers.’
      covering, cover, screen, shield, curtain, layer, film, mantle, cloak, mask, blanket, shroud, canopy, cloud, blur, haze, mist, pall
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 (in Jewish antiquity) the piece of precious cloth separating the sanctuary from the body of the Temple or the Tabernacle.
      • ‘Jesus' death was immediately followed by the veil of the temple being tom in two, from top to bottom.’
      • ‘Hebrews revisits two emphases from recent weeks: the new covenant and the sanctuary veil.’
      • ‘The tabernacle's veils, composed of 4 colours were related to the 4 elements.’
      • ‘And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.’
      • ‘The Holy of holies was separate from the rest of the Tabernacle by a heavy veil or curtain.’
  • 2Botany
    A membrane which is attached to the immature fruiting body of some toadstools and ruptures in the course of development, either (universal veil) enclosing the whole fruiting body or (partial veil) joining the edges of the cap to the stalk.

    • ‘The English name refers to the gossamer veil which protects the gills when the cap is in its unexpanded state, and which bears some resemblance to a spider's web.’
    • ‘Extending from the stem to the margin of the cap, and covering the gills, is the partial veil - a membranaceous, white texture of varying thickness.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Cover with or as if with a veil.

    ‘she veiled her face’
    • ‘The decorative, formal and iconographical nature of the artworks veil the confused personal tensions always present in relationships.’
    • ‘Glazed walls are layered with cypress louvers, which veil the street facade from sun and traffic.’
    • ‘A frigate churned majestically through the Humber yesterday, an eerie spirit from the days of Nelson and Hornblower that cut through the grey fog veiling the sunrise over the estuary.’
    • ‘When Madonna steps out of her car, wearing a cream coat and veiled hat, everyone is excited about the wedding theory for about five minutes.’
    • ‘The women of the city maintain the custom of veiling their faces, except for the slaves who sell all the foodstuffs.’
    • ‘It's largely thanks to him that the film pulls off a remarkable balancing act, neither veiling Aboriginal traditions in romantic mystery nor seeking to define their essential truths.’
    • ‘The symbolic white that covers the marriage bed also veils this woman's face.’
    • ‘The growing national movement facilitated this, because the capitalist class could always veil their demands as national demands.’
    • ‘Bahraini women were never as strict as other Arabs about covering themselves up in public, and many no longer veil their faces at all.’
    • ‘However, the risk is that the spectacle veils the music.’
    • ‘Women who adopted the veil helped to promulgate the re - veiling movement by encouraging female friends and relatives to do the same.’
    • ‘Unexpectedly, a cover of sadness veiled her eyes and her voice took a gloomy turn.’
    • ‘Both have an amiable and easy exterior that often veils their technical brilliance.’
    • ‘In each work, the encrusted outer coating veils a delicate drama of line, light and shadow that takes place just beneath the surface.’
    • ‘They veil the simple wisdom of the Buddha's words, and distract us from it.’
    • ‘The play's most penetrating moments occur when Ensler veils her disgust and sorrow at the lengths some women will go to to achieve physical perfection, under a veneer of sharp characterisation and acerbic wit.’
    • ‘The look of the film however is spectacular, and often veils its shortcoming.’
    • ‘The remaining fabric is swept across the upper half of the body, covering at least one shoulder and sometimes veiling the head.’
    • ‘Abattoirs were erected in outlying suburbs - consolidating slaughtering, bringing it under stricter control, veiling it from the public eye.’
    • ‘Stephens veils the pastoral subjects with milky washes that streak the surface, and a brown glaze that drips languorously down it.’
    envelop, surround, swathe, enfold, cover, cover up, conceal, hide, secrete, camouflage, disguise, mask, screen, shield, cloak, blanket, shroud, enwrap, canopy, overlay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually as adjective veiled Partially conceal, disguise, or obscure.
      ‘a thinly veiled threat’
      • ‘That was a pretty thinly veiled shot at Van Exel, who did not take the comments kindly.’
      • ‘His thinly veiled criticism of the management of the unit has been expressed more openly this weekend by the founder of the unit.’
      • ‘Its mention of ‘high-profile cases’ was a thinly veiled reference to Andrew.’
      • ‘He alleges Cheng appeared to offer veiled threats against his wife and daughter and wanted to talk about the radio show.’
      • ‘Big Brother was populated with thinly veiled, needy egos desperate to be noticed so that they could hide their distinct lack of character.’
      • ‘If I have one criticism, it's the fact that the Olympic thing was just a thinly veiled premise designed to give the two women an excuse to go on tour.’
      • ‘She's Steve Jobs' biological sister, and it's said to be a thinly veiled portrait of his life, so I feel it's a bit of a call of duty read.’
      • ‘This is obviously a thinly veiled attempt to avoid accusations of sexism.’
      • ‘In a thinly veiled attempt to mobilise lynch mobs, the press gleefully reported calls for the two to be hunted down and punished.’
      • ‘Until now it has remained undocumented, the circumstances of its commissioning veiled in utter obscurity.’
      • ‘During his brief stop, Howard issued two thinly veiled threats.’
      • ‘It was a thinly veiled attempt to provide medical cover for intensely political decisions.’
      • ‘So far it looks like a thinly veiled threat to drag the process out in legalistic wranglings.’
      • ‘There is a thinly veiled measure of ideological and partisan bias driving this entire matter.’
      • ‘It is, in fact, a thinly veiled autobiography and nothing less than a catalogue of disastrous dates - a tale of whine and roses.’
      • ‘Has Abbott put spin on it so many years later to turn him into the good guy and add a thinly veiled advocacy of adoption over abortion?’
      • ‘Plath and I both used thinly veiled fiction to cope with a very real fear - the death of a loved one.’
      • ‘Ms. McPherson is so obviously a thinly veiled smoker that it's ridiculous.’
      • ‘Brown also used his speech to deliver a series of thinly veiled warnings to his rivals in the higher echelons of the government.’
      • ‘Private clinics providing thinly veiled opportunities for queue-jumping have expanded.’
      covert, surreptitious, hidden, concealed, disguised, camouflaged, masked, suppressed, underlying, unrevealed, implied, indirect, hinted at
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • beyond the veil

    • In a mysterious or hidden place or state, especially the unknown state of life after death.

      ‘Billy realized that his father had passed irrevocably beyond the veil’
      • ‘The Ghost made eye contact with no one and offered not one single wisdom from beyond the veil.’
      • ‘Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race?’
      • ‘Man is, as Plato defined it, is capable of knowing what lies beyond the veil of sense perception.’
      • ‘You know, I believe that a lot of paranormal experiences are definitely due to interdimensional glimpses and interaction between our energies and those beyond the veil of this dimension.’
      • ‘She had gone, as she called it, ‘beyond the veil’ and she'd come back at my calling, at my individuated mind, to bring me back beyond the veil again, into that place where there is no judgement, where there is only peace and love.’
      • ‘Think of those who have passed beyond the veil… family, friends, animal companions, strangers.’
      • ‘‘Anything that has past beyond the veil of the living is with in my power’ He closed his eyes again and went silent for a while and Leara held him tightly then he spoke again.’
      • ‘These are indeed messages from someone who loves you beyond the veil.’
      • ‘The first thing indeed is to endorse the tributes made to our respected one who has passed beyond the veil.’
      • ‘That this was happening just beyond the veil of visible reality.’
  • draw a veil over

    • Avoid discussing or calling attention to (something embarrassing or unpleasant)

      ‘I will draw a veil over the cheerless days that followed’
      • ‘I never did get to lift the League Cup as captain of Celtic, and if you don't mind I'll draw a veil over the other final I played in during the 1990s which Raith Rovers won on penalties.’
      • ‘After a humiliating pasting at the by-election earlier this year, where they didn't just lose the MSP seat but slumped into third place, one would have thought Labour would have been keen to draw a veil over a memorably inept campaign.’
      • ‘I can't change it, I can't make it better, so I have to draw a veil over it.’
      • ‘They tried to draw a veil over the horrors of the recent past - to pretend, as far as possible, that Auschwitz and Dachau had never happened, and that all we needed to worry about was the length of ladies' skirts when worn at Henley Regatta.’
      • ‘Similarly, he prefers to draw a veil over his first year at university, which was clearly unhappy for reasons not totally related to his indifference to Fellini movies.’
      • ‘I will draw a veil over the following three years of delays and denials and posturing and game-playing, although it was no game to me.’
      • ‘Anyone can have an off day, and we'll draw a veil over which one of us it was.’
      • ‘Mr Khatami unintentionally drew a veil over a system that everyone knows is terrible.’
      • ‘Anyway we'll draw a veil over the second course.’
      • ‘I'll draw a veil over the next ten nights of pain, thirst and hallucination except to say that it was all worth it and I'm now back home gradually regaining my health and strength.’
      conceal, cover up, hide, camouflage, disguise, mask, veil, draw a veil over, whitewash
      View synonyms
  • take the veil

    • Become a nun.

      • ‘The hunt of a mysterious white deer, whose sudden appearance deflects the king and gives Osyth the opportunity to take the veil, also gives the opportunity for further clarification of the king's psychology.’
      • ‘He denies her one surpassing wish, which is to take the veil.’
      • ‘Griffith Gaunt, an impoverished gentleman of Cumberland, wishes to marry Kate Payton, a spirited and ardent young Roman Catholic, who dreams of taking the veil but feels at the same time bound to the world.’
      • ‘One widow vowed that if her daughter recovered from her sickbed, the girl would take the veil as a nun.’
      • ‘As it happened, her friend and counselor there, Mother Dolores, was none other than former actress Dolores Hart, the fresh-faced beauty who had given Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in ‘Loving You ‘before taking the veil.’’
      • ‘But the way some women go on, you'd think getting married was a combination of taking the veil - all that noble self-denying sacrifice - and volunteering for lifelong char lady status.’
      • ‘Eliza requests that Jane stay a second week, finally informing her that she plans to enter a convent and take the veil for the rest of her life.’
      • ‘The entrepreneur attended seminary before proving his worth in the family firm, his brothers served the cross, and his daughter, who took the veil, set up the Salesians in their hometown of Schio.’
      • ‘Does she still want to take the veil / And clothe herself in white and grey?’
      • ‘Annina, the lead character, is destined to take the veil whilst her misunderstanding ‘loving’ brother Michele not only opposes her decision but finds himself at loggerheads with everyone else.’

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French veil(e), from Latin vela, plural of velum (see velum).

Pronunciation

veil

/veɪl/