E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Cove (1 syl.).
An individual, as a flash cove (a swell), a rum cove (a man whose position and character is not quite palpable), a gentry cove (a gentleman), a downy cove (a very knowing individual), etc. (Gipsy, cova, a thing; covo, that man; covi, that woman.)