Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
cover (one's) feet
A Biblical euphemism for defecation. (While positioned in that act, one's robe would cover one's feet.) A: "Where is Joe?" B: "Oh, he's in the restroom, probably covering his feet, if you know what I mean."
cover (the) ground
1. To move across an area at an acceptable speed. I think we can count on that racehorse to cover the ground.
2. To complete something in a particular manner or review a certain amount of information or discuss a certain number of topics. It is a lot of work, but I'm confident that Bill will cover the ground well. We need to cover a lot of ground in American History before the exam date.
cover a lot of ground
1. To travel a long distance. The phrase often refers to a portion of a longer journey. Even though we covered a lot of ground on the first day of our road trip, we still have many miles to go.
2. To review a large amount of information or discuss many topics. We need to cover a lot of ground in American History before the exam date.
cover a multitude of sins
To conceal things that are unattractive or problematic. I need to wear a girdle to cover a multitude of sins. New drywall will cover a multitude of sins in the kitchen.
cover all bases
To be well-prepared for every possible outcome. We need to cover all bases here—check every office and make sure it's been evacuated. I know I don't have the best grades, so I covered all bases by applying to 15 colleges.
cover all the bases
To account for or provide a way to address every possible outcome, scenario, contingency, etc. We need to cover all the bases here—the investigation should explore every avenue. I covered all the bases by applying to 15 colleges.
cover for (someone or something)
1. To hide one's wrongdoings from someone else. In this usage, the phrase can also be written as "cover up for." If I sneak out and go to the party tonight, will you cover for me? Just tell mom I went to bed early or something.
2. To do something in place of someone else. I'm working today because I'm covering for Joanna, who's on vacation.
3. To provide insurance against a problem or scenario. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cover" and "for." Does our homeowner's insurance cover the house for flood damage?
See also: cover
cover the same ground
To discuss or address something that has already been discussed or examined. I don't know why we keep having meetings when all we do is cover the same ground every week.
1. verb To place a covering on someone or something, as for protection. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cover" and "up." Let me just cover up these leftovers so you can take them with you. I'm so fair-skinned that I have to cover myself up before spending time in the sun.
2. To clothe oneself. I'll answer the door in a moment, I just need to cover up first.
3. verb To conceal the evidence of one's (usually nefarious) actions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cover" and "up." I just know that the CEO is covering something up—why else would those documents suddenly go missing? The administration is clearly trying to cover up the scandal.
4. noun The act of concealing the evidence of nefarious actions. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated or written as one word. Their cover-up unraveled when the CEO's secretary confessed to his wrongdoing. The administration is clearly engaging in a coverup to hide the scandal.
5. noun An article of clothing worn over other clothing, such as a bathing suit. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated. Once it got breezy on the beach, I put my cover-up back on.
duck and cover
1. To crouch and hide; to take cover. If they start throwing water balloons at us, duck and cover!
2. To evade something, often a question that one does not want to answer. If you continue to duck and cover at town hall meetings, your constituents' anger will only grow.
cover a lot of ground
1. Lit. to travel over a great distance; to investigate a wide expanse of land. The prospectors covered a lot of ground, looking for gold. My car can cover a lot of ground in one day.
2. Fig. to deal with much information and many facts. The history lecture covered a lot of ground today.
cover someone or something up
to place something on someone or something for protection or concealment. Cover the pie up, so Terry won't see it. Cover up Jimmy so he doesn't get cold.
cover something up
1. Lit. to place some sort of cover on something. Please cover up that mess with a cloth. Cover it up.
2. Fig. to conceal a wrongdoing; to conceal evidence. They tried to cover the crime up, but the single footprint gave them away. She could not cover up her misdeeds.
duck and cover
1. . Lit. to bend down and seek protection against an attack. When the gunfire started, we had to duck and cover or get killed.
2. Fig. to dodge something, such as an issue or a difficult question, and attempt to shield oneself against similar issues or questions. The candidate's first reaction to the question was to duck and cover. The debaters were ducking and covering throughout the evening.
1. Wrap up or enfold in order to protect. For example, Be sure to cover up the outdoor furniture in case of rain, or It's cold, so be sure to cover up the baby. [Late 1800s]
2. Conceal something, especially a crime, as in The opposition accused the President of covering up his assistant's suicide. [c. 1920]
cover a lot of ground
If something such as a conversation, a piece of writing or a course covers a lot of ground, it deals with a lot of subjects or a large area of a subject. Chapters 3 and 4 have covered a lot of ground in attempting to explain what marketing is about. The workshops cover a lot of ground in one day, taking for granted that people know how to use their sewing machines.
cover the same groundor
go over the same ground
If something such as a conversation, a piece of writing or a course covers the same ground or goes over the same ground, it deals with the same subjects or the same part of a subject that has already been dealt with. As the titles of these two books imply, they cover much the same ground. You continue to think and wonder about it, going over the same ground in your mind, again and again.
cover a multitude of sinsor
hide a multitude of sins
If something covers a multitude of sins or hides a multitude of sins, it hides a lot of mistakes or things that are unpleasant or unattractive. `Strong, centralized government' is a term that can cover a multitude of sins. Wood is great for hiding a multitude of sins — rough, bumpy walls, pipes, and even wallpaper you can't face stripping. Note: This expression is used humorously.
cover a multitude of sinsconceal or gloss over a lot of problems or defects.
This phrase refers to 1 Peter 4:8: ‘For charity shall cover the multitude of sins’.
1. To spread or extend something over someone or something in order to protect or conceal: We covered up the furniture with a drop cloth before painting the walls. The children covered themselves up with leaves while playing hide and seek.
2. To conceal something, especially wrongdoing or error: The criminal tried to cover up the crime by destroying the evidence. I accidentally overcharged a customer, and my boss told me to cover it up.
3. To put on or wear clothing: My grandmother covers up before going outside to protect herself from the sun.
duck and cover
Seek shelter. If you attended elementary or secondary school during the 1950s and '60s, you will remember air raid drills practiced in the anticipation of nuclear attack. At the teacher's command “duck and cover,” you would stop whatever you were doing, drop down under your desk or against a wall, and assuming a fetal position, interlace the fingers of both hands behind your neck in a “covering” pose. How effective the technique would have been would have depended how far away from the atomic or hydrogen bomb blast's heat, shock waves, and radiation the school was. In any event, defense authorities thought everyone should do something in case of a nuclear attack. In those days, schoolkids did what they were told, so they ducked and covered.