early 13c., in compounds, from cover (v.). Meaning "recording of a song already recorded by another" is 1966. Cover girl is U.S. slang from 1915, shortening of magazine-cover girl.
mid-12c., from Old French covrir (12c., Modern French couvrir) "to cover, protect, conceal, dissemble," from Late Latin coperire, from Latin cooperire "to cover over, overwhelm, bury," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + operire "to close, cover," from PIE compound *op-wer-yo-, from *op- "over" (see epi-) + root *wer- (4) "to cover."
Related: Covered; covering. Military sense is from 1680s; newspaper sense first recorded 1893; use in football dates from 1907. Betting sense is 1857. Of horses, as a euphemism for "copulate" it dates from 1530s. Covered wagon attested from 1745.
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