From Middle English veil, veyl, from Anglo-Norman and Old Northern French veil (“sail, veil, shroud”) (Francien Old French voil, French voile), Latin vēlum (“sail”). Displaced Middle English scleire, scleyre, sleyre, slyre (“veil”) (compare German Schleier). Doublet of velum and voile.
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /veɪl/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪl
- Homophones: vale, vail
veil (plural veils)
- Something hung up or spread out to hide or protect the face, or hide an object from view; usually of gauze, crepe, or similar diaphanous material.
- (figuratively) Anything that partially obscures a clear view.
- 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 160:
- Above the smoky veil over the town rose Akerhus fort, with its towers standing out in sharp relief against the mirror of the fjord, beyond where the Nœs point loomed as a black shadow.
- A cover; disguise; a mask; a pretense.
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iii]:
- [I will] pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming Mistress Page.
- 2007. Zerzan, John. Silence. p. 4.
- Beckett complains that "in the forest of symbols" there is never quiet, and longs to break through the veil of language to silence.
- A covering for a person or thing; as, a caul (especially over the head)
- a nun's veil
- a paten veil
- an altar veil
- (biology) The calyptra of mosses.
- (zoology) velum (A circular membrane round the cap of a medusa).
- (mycology) A thin layer of tissue which is attached to or covers a mushroom.
- (mycology) A membrane connecting the margin of the pileus of a mushroom with the stalk; a velum.
- An obscuration of the clearness of the tones in pronunciation.
- (figuratively, parapsychology) That which separates the living and the spirit world.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (transitive) To dress in, or decorate with, a veil.
- (transitive) To conceal as with a veil.
- The forest fire was veiled by smoke, but I could hear it clearly.
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
- Een veile vrouw.
- A venal woman.
|Inflection of veil|