a. A length of cloth worn over the head, shoulders, and often the face, especially by women.
b. A length of netting attached to a woman's hat or hair worn for decoration or to protect the head and face.
c. A length of protective netting worn over the face by beekeepers.
a. The part of a nun's headdress that frames the face and falls over the shoulders.
b. The life or vows of a nun: assumed the veil.
3. Any of various cloth head coverings worn by Muslim women.
a. A piece of light fabric hung to separate or conceal what is behind it; a curtain.
b. Something that conceals, separates, or screens like a curtain: a veil of secrecy.
5. Biology A membranous covering or part, as that on the developing fruiting body of certain mushrooms; a velum.
v. veiled, veil·ing, veils
1. To cover with or as if with a veil: Dense fog veiled the bridge.
2. To conceal or disguise: a smile that veiled his anger.
To wear a veil.
[Middle English, from Old North French, from Latin vēla, pl. of vēlum, a covering.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.