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.
the outer front or back part of a magazine, book etc:
His photo's on the cover of Newsweek again.
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.
the sheets etc that you put over yourself when you are in bed:
The covers had slipped off in the night.
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).
the protection insurance gives you, so that it pays you money if you are injured, something is stolen etc [= coverage American English]
insurance[uncountable] British EnglishBFI
cover against fire and theft
military protection and support given to aircraft, ships etc that are likely to be attacked:
fighters used as cover for ground troops
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.
clouds, snow etc that partly hide the sky or the ground
cloud/snow/fog etc cover
Cloud cover in the morning should clear later.
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
a new recording of a song, piece of music etc that was originally recorded by a different artist:
musicalso cover version [countable]
She's opted to do a cover version for her first single.
behaviour or activities that seem normal or honest but are being used to hide something bad or illegal
secret[countable usually singular]SCC
The gang used the shop as a cover for drug deals.
All that toughness is just a cover for his inability to show affection.
pretending to be someone else in order to do something secretly:
She was working under cover to get information on drug gangs.
under a roof or other structure:
The aircraft is displayed under cover in the USAF Gallery.
hidden by the darkness of night:
They escaped under cover of darkness.
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.