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Covers were laid for

... Dinner was provided for. ... A cover (couvert) in French means knife, fork, spoon, and napkin. Hence, mettre le couvert, to lay the cloth; and lever (or ôter) le couvert, to clear it away.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Covers were laid for from Infoplease:

  • Covers were laid for - Covers were laid for ... Dinner was provided for. ... A cover (couvert) in French means knife, ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: C - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "C"

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