• 2-minute read
  • 1st January 2021

Word Choice: Veil vs. Vale

“Veil” and “vale” sound the same but have different meanings. So, how do you make sure you use the right word in your writing? Check out our tips below.

Veil (Fabric Covering the Face)

As a noun, “veil” refers to a piece of light, finely woven material, typically worn by women to cover their faces or as part of a head-dress:

The bride wore a white veil trimmed with Belgium lace.

More generally, “veil” can refer to anything that covers or conceals something:

There is a veil of secrecy around the new party’s manifesto.

A veil of mist hid the valley from view.

It follows, then, that the verb “veil” means “obscure or hide something”:

The grieving widow veiled her face.

A thick cloud veiled the mountain tops.

When he heard the news, he was unable to veil his disappointment.

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

In both cases, though, “veil” is always related to concealing something.

A veiled face.
A veiled face.
(Photo: Pixabay)

Vale (Valley)

The noun “vale” is an old-fashioned term that refers to a valley. These days, you will only usually see it used in place names or in literature:

The Vale of Glamorgan is an area in the south of Wales.

O’er the hill and o’er the vale/Come three kings together.

You might also come across the phrase “vale of tears.” This is a literary term, drawn from Christianity, referring to life on earth as a source of great sorrow and tragedy.

Summary: Veil or Vale?

These words are easy to mix up because they sound identical. But remember:

  • Veil can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it refers to something that conceals, typically a light fabric face covering. As a verb, it means “hide or obscure.”
  • Vale is an old-fashioned noun meaning “valley.”

Keep in mind that “vale” is a very rare term outside of place names and literature these days. And if you’re referring to some form of concealment or covering, whether as a noun or a verb, the correct spelling will always be “veil.”

For more help with your spelling and word choice, our proofreaders are available 24/7. Submit a free trial document today to find out more.

Comments (0)

Got content that needs a quick turnaround?

Let us polish your work.

Explore our editorial business services.

More Writing Tips?
Trusted by thousands of leading
institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.