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. will pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress page. (Shak)
3. (Science: 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. (Science: 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.
The inner embryonic membrane of higher vertebrates (especially when covering the head at birth).