Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



A.Word.A.Day--feme covert

Pronunciation RealAudio

feme covert (fem KOV-uhrt) noun, plural femes covert

A married woman.

[From Anglo-French feme covert, from feme (woman) + covert (protected).]

A feme covert is not the feminine equivalent of 007. Rather, it's a legal term to describe a married woman, one who is covered or protected by a husband. Some have interpreted the term literally to indicate a woman covered by a veil. The opposite of this is feme sole, a single woman, whether divorced, widowed, or never married.

"She had already defeated other complainants by claiming that she was feme covert, married 'to one Markham.'"
Gustav Ungerer; Mary Frith, Alias Moll Cutpurse, in Life And Literature; Shakespeare Studies (Rutherford, New Jersey); 2000.

"Than ladies-errant, unconfin'd,
And feme-coverts t' all mankind."
Samuel Butler; Hudibras; 1678.

This week's theme: words that aren't what they appear to be.


The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life - the sick, the needy and the handicapped. -Hubert Horatio Humphrey, US Vice President (1911-1978)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith