1. Something hung up, or spread out, to intercept the view, and hide an object; a cover; a curtain; especially, a screen, usually of gauze, crape, or similar diaphnous material, to hide or protect the face. "The veil of the temple was rent in twain." (Matt. Xxvii. 51) "She, as a veil down to the slender waist, Her unadorned golden tresses wore." (Milton)

2. A cover; disguise; a mask; a pretense. "[I will] pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming Mistress Page." (Shak)

3. <botany> The calyptra of mosses. A membrane connecting the margin of the pileus of a mushroom with the stalk; called also velum.

4. A covering for a person or thing; as, a nun's veil; a paten veil; an altar veil.

5. <zoology> Same as Velum. To take the veil, to receive or be covered with, a veil, as a nun, in token of retirement from the world; to become a nun.

Origin: OE. Veile, OF. Veile, F. Voile, L. Velum a sail, covering, curtain, veil, probably fr. Vehere to bear, carry, and thus originally, that which bears the ship on. See Vehicle, and cf. Reveal

Alternative forms: vail.

(01 Mar 1998)

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