Piercing the veil

Posted by Bob on October 16, 2005

In Reply to: Lifting the veil posted by ESC on October 16, 2005

: : : Does anyone know the meaning of 'lift the veil' or 'lifting the veil'?
: : When you lift the veil from something or someone, you reveal what is behind it. So figuratively, it means to uncover some private or secret thing.

: A veil can be a concealing item of clothing (a bridal veil) or a concealing curtain (as used below) and has come to mean "something that hides or obscures like a veil" (Merriam-Webster online).

: Mark 15:
: 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

: 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

: 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

: 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

: In my family, when we don't want to hear about or discuss a topic, we say, "Draw a veil."

A somewhat related phrase is "piercing the veil," a legal term. The definition, courtesy of nolo.com:

A judicial doctrine that allows a plaintiff to hold otherwise immune corporate officers and directors personally liable for damages caused by a corporation under their control. The veil is pierced when officers have acted intentionally and illegally, or when their actions exceeded the power given them by the company's articles of incorporation.