1. [mid-16C+] (orig. UK Und.) a man.
2. [late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a receiver.
3. [early 19C] the owner or manager of an establishment, esp. (Aus.) of a sheep station.
4. [early 19C] a sheriff’s officer, a policeman.
5. [mid-19C] an assistant, a shop-boy.
6. [mid-19C] constr. with a, oneself, e.g. a cove ought to get drunk once in a while.
7. see cove of the ken
[mid–late 19C] (UK Und.) the leader of a gang of thieves.
[19C] the landlord of a lodging house.
[early–mid-19C] the master of the house, a landlord; thus covess of the ken, a landlady or brothel-keeper.
[19C] an honest man.
see under swell adj. (1)