"a convent or monastery" (early 13c.), also "a meeting, gathering, assembly" (c. 1300); an early variant of convent (n.) that lingered into the 17c.
Entries linking to covent
c. 1200, covent, cuvent, "association or community of persons devoted to religious life," from Anglo-French covent, from Old French convent, covent "monastery, religious community," from Latin conventus "assembly," used in Medieval Latin for "religious house," originally past participle of convenire "to come together, meet together, assemble; unite, join, combine; agree with, accord; be suitable or proper (to)," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + venire "to come" (from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come").
Meaning "a house or set of buildings occupied by a community devoted to religious life" is from mid-15c. Not exclusively feminine until 18c. The form with restored Latin -n- emerged early 15c. The Middle English form lingers in London's Covent Garden district (notorious late 18c. for brothels), so called because it had been the garden of a defunct monastery.
COVENT GARDEN ABBESS. A bawd.
COVENT GARDEN AGUE. The venereal diſeaſe.
["Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1796]
city in Warwickshire, mid-13c., an alteration of Old English Couentre (1043), probably literally "Cofa's tree," from Old English masc. personal name Cofa (genitive Cofan) + tree (n.). If this is correct, the name might refer to a boundary marker or a public assembly place. The explanation that it was named for a convent (see covent) founded there 11c. likely would be folk etymology.
updated on April 25, 2018