Meaning of COVER in English


I. cov ‧ er 1 S1 W1 /ˈkʌvə $ -ər/ BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ cover , ↑ coverage , ↑ covering ; adjective : ↑ undercover , ↑ covered ≠ UNCOVERED ; verb : ↑ cover ≠ ↑ uncover ; adverb : ↑ undercover ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: covrir , from Latin cooperire , from co- ( ⇨ ↑ co- ) + operire 'to close, cover' ]

1 . HIDE/PROTECT ( also cover up ) to put something over or be over something in order to hide, close, or protect it:

Cover the pot and bake for an hour.

She wore a low-cut dress, partly covered by a thin shawl.

cover something with something

Dan covered his face with his hands.

2 . LAYER if something covers a surface, it forms a layer over it:

Grey mould covered the walls.

Much of the country is covered by snow.

cover something with/in something

The bulletin board was covered with messages.

The eruption of the volcano covered states as far away as Montana in a fine layer of ash.

3 . INCLUDE to include or deal with a particular subject or group of things:

a course covering business law

Are there any areas you feel are not covered adequately in the book?

‘Exercise’ is a word which covers a vast range of activities.

We need more time to cover so much ground (=include so many things) .

pollutants that are not covered by the Kyoto agreement

4 . DISTANCE to travel a particular distance:

They were hoping to cover 40 miles yesterday.

A leopard can cover a lot of ground very quickly.

5 . AREA to spread over an area:

The city covers 25 square miles.

6 . NEWS to report the details of an event for a newspaper or a television or radio programme:

I’d just returned from covering the Cambodian war.

7 . MONEY if a sum of money covers the cost of something, it is enough to pay for it:

The award should be enough to cover her tuition fees.

Airlines are raising fares to cover the rising costs of fuel.

8 . INSURANCE if your insurance covers you or your possessions, it promises to pay you money if you have an accident, something is stolen etc:

Most policies cover accidental damage to pipes.

The treatment wasn’t covered by her health care insurance.

cover somebody against/for something

Are we covered for theft?

cover somebody to do something

He thought he was covered to drive the vehicle.

9 . GUNS

a) to protect someone by being ready to shoot anyone who attacks them:

I’ll make for the door – cover me, will you?

b) to aim a gun at a person or a place where people might be, in order to prevent them from moving or escaping:

He stepped into the doorway and swung the gun up to cover the corridor.

10 . SPORT to stay close to a member of the opposing team or a part of the field in order to prevent your opponents from gaining points

11 . MUSIC to perform or record a song that was originally recorded by another artist:

They’ve covered several hits from the 1980s.

12 . cover (all) the bases to make sure you can deal with any situation or problem so that nothing bad happens:

Parents are already stressed trying to cover the bases at home and at work.

13 . cover yourself (against something) ( also cover your back , cover your butt/ass American English ) to do things in a way that will prevent people from blaming or criticizing you:

Doctors are concerned to cover themselves against charges of negligence.

He copied Stella in on the email just to cover his back.

14 . cover your tracks to try to hide something you have done so that other people do not find out:

He started to destroy documents to cover his tracks.

• • •


▪ cover ( also cover up ) to put something over, on, or around something else, to hide it, protect it, or improve its appearance:

Cover the dough, and leave it to rise.


She wears a lot of make-up to cover her spots.

▪ put something over something to put a cloth, blanket etc loosely over the top of something in order to cover it:

They gave him a blanket to put over his legs.

▪ wrap ( also wrap up ) to put paper, plastic, cloth etc tightly around something in order to protect, decorate, or post it:

I haven’t wrapped her birthday present yet.

▪ envelop literary to surround something completely so that it is difficult to see – used especially about darkness, smoke, and clouds:

At sunset, darkness enveloped the town.

▪ be shrouded in mist/darkness/smoke etc literary to be covered and hidden in mist, smoke etc:

The mountains were shrouded in mist.

cover for somebody phrasal verb

1 . to do the work that someone else usually does, because they are not there:

Who’s covering for you while you’re away?

2 . to prevent someone from getting into trouble by lying for them, especially about where they are or what they are doing

cover something ↔ over phrasal verb

to put something on top of something else so that it is completely hidden:

The female lays a single egg and covers it over.

cover up phrasal verb

1 . cover something ↔ up to put something over something else so that it cannot be seen:

Her legs were so swollen she had to cover them up.

2 . cover something ↔ up to prevent people from discovering mistakes or unpleasant facts ⇨ whitewash :

The affair was covered up and never reached the papers.

Mum’s worried, but she covers it up by joking.

⇨ ↑ cover-up

3 . cover up for somebody to protect someone by hiding unpleasant facts about them:

They covered up for Kirk by refusing to answer any questions.

4 . to put clothes, ↑ blanket s etc over yourself in order to protect or hide your body, or to keep yourself warm:

Cover up, or stay out of the sun.

cover yourself up

Hastily, she covered herself up with the towel.

II. cover 2 S1 W2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ cover , ↑ coverage , ↑ covering ; adjective : ↑ undercover , ↑ covered ≠ UNCOVERED ; verb : ↑ cover ≠ ↑ uncover ; adverb : ↑ undercover ]

1 . PROTECTION [countable] something that is put on top of something else to protect it ⇨ lid :

a blue duvet cover

a plastic cover

A dust cover (=to keep dirt etc off) hung over the painting.

2 . BOOKS [countable] the outer front or back part of a magazine, book etc:

His photo’s on the cover of ‘Newsweek’ again.

front/back cover

an advertisement on the back cover

I read the magazine from cover to cover (=all of it) .

cover photo/shot/picture (=picture on the front cover)

The cover shot was of three guys in army kit.

3 . BED the covers [plural] the sheets etc that you put over yourself when you are in bed:

The covers had slipped off in the night.

4 . SHELTER [uncountable] shelter or protection from bad weather or attack

run/dive for cover

He was shot in the head as he ran for cover.

We were forced to take cover in a barn.

Three soldiers broke cover (=left the place where they were hiding) .

5 . INSURANCE [uncountable] British English the protection insurance gives you, so that it pays you money if you are injured, something is stolen etc SYN coverage American English :

medical cover

cover against/for

cover against fire and theft

6 . WAR [uncountable] military protection and support given to aircraft, ships etc that are likely to be attacked:

fighters used as cover for ground troops

7 . PLANTS [uncountable] trees and plants that grow in large numbers on a piece of land:

Once the forest cover is felled, rains wash away the soil.

With its spreading stems, ivy makes good ground cover.

8 . WEATHER [uncountable] clouds, snow etc that partly hide the sky or the ground

cloud/snow/fog etc cover

Cloud cover in the morning should clear later.

9 . WORK [uncountable] an arrangement in which people do a job or provide a service, especially because the people who normally do it are not there ⇨ backup :

It’s your responsibility to arrange adequate cover for holiday periods.

night-time ambulance cover

10 . MUSIC [countable] ( also cover version ) a new recording of a song, piece of music etc that was originally recorded by a different artist:

She’s opted to do a cover version for her first single.

11 . SECRET [countable usually singular] behaviour or activities that seem normal or honest but are being used to hide something bad or illegal

cover for

The gang used the shop as a cover for drug deals.

All that toughness is just a cover for his inability to show affection.

12 . under cover

a) pretending to be someone else in order to do something secretly:

She was working under cover to get information on drug gangs.

b) under a roof or other structure:

The aircraft is displayed under cover in the USAF Gallery.

13 . under (the) cover of darkness/night literary hidden by the darkness of night:

They escaped under cover of darkness.

14 . under plain cover/under separate cover if a letter etc is sent under plain cover or under separate cover, it is sent in a plain envelope or a separate envelope:

The bill will be sent to you later under separate cover.

• • •



▪ the front/back cover

The price of the book is on the back cover.

▪ a hard/soft cover

I never buy books in hard cover – they’re much more expensive.

▪ a book/magazine cover

There was a blonde girl on the magazine cover.

■ cover + NOUN

▪ a cover story (=the main story on the front of a newspaper or magazine)

Last month’s cover story was entitled ‘Your Child’s Brain’.

▪ a cover photo/shot (=picture on the front cover)

The picture became the July 4th cover shot.

▪ a cover design

the cover design of the Christmas issue

▪ a cover girl (=an attractive girl whose photo is on the front cover)

She had always liked the idea of being a cover girl.

■ phrases

▪ read something from cover to cover (=read a book, magazine etc very thoroughly)

He read it from cover to cover in less than three hours.

• • •


▪ cover something that is put on or over something else to protect it, for example a piece of metal, plastic, or glass:

a manhole cover


the cover that goes over the barbecue

▪ covering a layer of something, or a sheet of something, that covers something else:

There was light covering of snow on the ground.


The hard shell acts as a protective covering.


the cloth coverings on the altar

▪ lid a cover for a container such as a pan or a box:

the lid of the box


a saucepan lid

▪ top/cap the thing that you put on top of a bottle, tube, or pen, in order to prevent the liquid or other things inside from coming out:

I can’t find the cap for the pen.


Put the top back on the milk!


the cap that goes on the toothpaste

▪ cork the top part that you put on top of a bottle of wine:

Can you take off the cork for me?

▪ wrapping ( also wrap especially American English ) a sheet of paper, plastic etc that is put around something in order to cover or protect it:

John tore the wrapping off his presents.


The lamp was still in its wrapping.

▪ wrapper a piece of paper or plastic that is put around something you buy, especially a small object:

Put the candy wrappers in your pocket.


He took the drinking straw out of its wrapper.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.