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.



veil (plural veils)

  1. 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.
  2. (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.
  3. A cover; disguise; a mask; a pretense.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (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.
  4. A covering for a person or thing; as, a caul (especially over the head)
    a nun's veil
    a paten veil
    an altar veil
  5. (biology) The calyptra of mosses.
  6. (zoology) velum (A circular membrane round the cap of a medusa).
  7. (mycology) A thin layer of tissue which is attached to or covers a mushroom.
  8. (mycology) A membrane connecting the margin of the pileus of a mushroom with the stalk; a velum.
  9. An obscuration of the clearness of the tones in pronunciation.
  10. (figuratively, parapsychology) That which separates the living and the spirit world.
    • 1926, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist[1]:
      "I have heard most furious bigots talking through the veil." "So have I, for that matter," said Malone, "and in this very room."

Derived termsEdit


  • Japanese: ベール (bēru)
  • Korean: 베일 (beil)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


veil (third-person singular simple present veils, present participle veiling, simple past and past participle veiled)

  1. (transitive) To dress in, or decorate with, a veil.
  2. (transitive) To conceal as with a veil.
    The forest fire was veiled by smoke, but I could hear it clearly.







  1. first-person singular present indicative of veilen
  2. imperative of veilen


veil (comparative veiler, superlative veilst)

  1. venal
    Een veile vrouw.
    A venal woman.


Inflection of veil
uninflected veil
inflected veile
comparative veiler
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial veil veiler het veilst
het veilste
indefinite m./f. sing. veile veilere veilste
n. sing. veil veiler veilste
plural veile veilere veilste
definite veile veilere veilste
partitive veils veilers