Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

cover - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     cover pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecovering
past tensecovered
past participlecovered
  1. 1



    cover over


    cover up

    to put one thing over another, in order to protect or hide it

    Cover the food until you are ready to eat it.

    cover someone/something with something:

    They covered her with a blanket.

    be covered with/by something:

    The floor was covered with plastic sheeting.

    1. a.
      to be on top of something

      A rug covered the hole in the carpet.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      to put your hands over your eyes, ears, or mouth

      Bob covered his eyes, unable to look at the body.

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    to be all over a surface or object
    be covered with/in something:

    His clothes were covered in mud.

    All the furniture was covered with dust.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      to spread something all over a surface or object

      They covered the path with rose petals.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      to spread or lie all over an area of land
      Synonyms and related words
  3. 4
    to give a report or description of an event on television or radio, or in a newspaper

    We will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon.

    Clare Gray covered the Paris fashion shows for The Times.

  4. 5
    to have enough money to pay for something

    We need £1,000 a month to cover the rent.

  5. 6
    if an insurance agreement covers a situation or person, it provides protection against loss for that situation or person

    The warranty does not cover damage caused by misuse of the product.

    cover someone for something:

    His car insurance covers him for business use.

    cover someone to do something:

    Are you covered to drive a truck?

    cover someone against something:

    You need to be covered against fire.

  6. 7
    to travel a particular distance

    We had to cover the last three miles on foot.

  7. 8
    music to perform or record a song that was first performed by someone else

    Her new album covers some old Beatles classics.

    Synonyms and related words
  8. 9
    to protect someone from attack by pointing a gun at someone who might shoot them

    His partner covered him while he ran across the prison yard.

    1. a.
      to prevent someone from moving or escaping by pointing a gun towards them

      You go first while we cover the back door.

      Synonyms and related words

phrasal verbs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play