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to take the veil
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Veil \Veil\ (v[=a]l), n. [OE. veile, OF. veile, F. voile, L. velum a sail, covering, curtain, veil, probably fr. vehere to bear, carry, and thus originally, that which bears the ship on. See Vehicle, and cf. Reveal.] [Written also vail.] [1913 Webster] 1. Something hung up, or spread out, to intercept the view, and hide an object; a cover; a curtain; esp., a screen, usually of gauze, crape, or similar diaphnous material, to hide or protect the face. [1913 Webster] The veil of the temple was rent in twain. --Matt. xxvii. 51. [1913 Webster] She, as a veil down to the slender waist, Her unadorn['e]d golden tresses wore. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. A cover; a disguise; a mask; a pretense. [1913 Webster] [I will] pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming Mistress Page. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. (Bot.) (a) The calyptra of mosses. (b) A membrane connecting the margin of the pileus of a mushroom with the stalk; -- called also velum. [1913 Webster] 4. (Eccl.) A covering for a person or thing; as, a nun's veil; a paten veil; an altar veil. [1913 Webster] 5. (Zool.) Same as Velum, 3. [1913 Webster] To take the veil (Eccl.), to receive or be covered with, a veil, as a nun, in token of retirement from the world; to become a nun. [1913 Webster]