Gray treefrogs use various colors to veil themselves.

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Nightowll

Senior Member
Italian
The WordReference.com Dictionary of English defines veil like this: to cover or conceal with or as with a veil: or to hide the real nature of; mask; disguise.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines veil like this: Cover with a veil or Cover, conceal, or disguise.

Gray treefrogs use various colors to veil themselves.

Because the definition has disguise, do you think veil can be used in a sentence like this to describe amphibians blending in with their environments?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree that veil is not appropriate in that context. You could say that they use a variety of colours “as camouflage” or “to disguise themselves”.
     

    Nightowll

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you! :)

    Gray treefrogs use a variety of colors as camouflage.

    Gray treefrogs use a variety of colors to disguise themselves.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Gray treefrogs use color shifting to blend in with the background.

    Veil suggests that something diaphanous was used to partially hide the frogs. So I agree with those who said "veil" is the wrong word.

    In the USA we almost exclusively associate "veil" with the tulle fabric used by brides:



    It is also used as a metaphor as in "I don't appreciate your veiled comments".
     

    Nightowll

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thanks! :)

    So we should not use veil for amphibians' camouflage because they use their skin, not light fabric or whatever material that isn't part of their bodies. Perhaps some species of spiders veil themselves in their nests.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s an unlikely verb to use in any such context. When it doesn’t mean a veil that you wear, it’s usually used metaphorically (e.g. The election process was described as “veiled in secrecy”).
     

    Nightowll

    Senior Member
    Italian
    OK, so the verb veil is used with people wearing veils or in figurative ways, not with animals hiding themselves.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Not with animals hiding themselves unless they do it by literally covering themselves with, or hiding behind, something that is similar to a veil. No doubt there are some such creatures…
     
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