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[ey-pruh n] /ˈeɪ prən/
a garment covering part of the front of the body and tied at the waist, for protecting the wearer's clothing:
a kitchen apron.
Anglican Church. a similar garment extending to the knees, worn by bishops, deans, and archdeans.
a metal plate or cover, usually vertical, for a machine, mechanism, artillery piece, etc., for protecting those who operate it.
a continuous conveyor belt for bulk materials, consisting of a chain of steel plates.
(in a lathe) a part of the carriage holding the clutches and gears moving the toolholder.
a paved or hard-packed area abutting an airfield's buildings and hangars, where planes are parked, loaded, or the like.
a broad paved area used for parking cars, as at the end of a driveway.
Civil Engineering.
  1. any device for protecting a surface of earth, as a riverbank, from the action of moving water.
  2. a platform to receive the water falling over a dam.
the part of a stage floor in front of the curtain line.
Furniture. skirt (def 6).
the outer border of a green of a golf course.
the part of the floor of a boxing ring that extends outside the ropes.
Also called skirt. a flat, broad piece of interior window trim immediately beneath the sill.
a strip of metal set into masonry and bent down to cover the upper edge of flashing; counterflashing.
the open part of a pier for loading and unloading vessels.
Nautical. (in a wooden vessel) a piece reinforcing the stem on the after side and leading down to the deadwood.
Geology. a deposit of gravel and sand at the base of a mountain or extending from the edges of a glacier.
the frill of long hairs on the throat and chest of certain long-haired dogs, as the collie.
a structure erected around another structure, as for reinforcement or decoration:
a high fence surrounded by a wire apron buried in the ground.
verb (used with object)
to put an apron on; furnish with an apron.
to surround in the manner of an apron:
The inner city is aproned by low-cost housing.
Origin of apron
1275-1325; 1925-30 for def 6; 1900-05 for def 8; Middle English napron (by later misconstruing a napron as an apron) < Middle French naperon, equivalent to nape tablecloth (< Latin mappa napkin; cf. map) + -ron diminutive suffix
Related forms
apronlike, adjective
unaproned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for apron
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tillie, at Mrs. McKee's, stood in the doorway and fanned herself with her apron.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Dilly got briskly up and gathered a drawer-full of papers into her apron.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • "David's harnessin' now," said Mary, beginning to untie her apron.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Mrs. Pendleton hurried forward, wiping her hands on her apron as she went.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Mistress Affery, with a suppressed cry, threw her apron over her head.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for apron


a protective or sometimes decorative or ceremonial garment worn over the front of the body and tied around the waist
the part of a stage extending in front of the curtain line; forestage
a hard-surfaced area in front of or around an aircraft hangar, terminal building, etc, upon which aircraft can stand
a continuous conveyor belt composed usually of slats linked together
a protective plate screening the operator of a machine, artillery piece, etc
a ground covering of concrete or other material used to protect the underlying earth from water erosion
a panel or board between a window and a skirting in a room
(geology) a sheet of sand, gravel, etc, deposited at the front of a moraine
(golf) the part of the fairway leading onto the green
(machinery) the housing for the lead screw gears of a lathe
another name for skirt (sense 3)
tied to someone's apron strings, dependent on or dominated by someone, esp a mother or wife
(transitive) to protect or provide with an apron
Word Origin
C16: mistaken division (as if an apron) of earlier a napron, from Old French naperon a little cloth, from nape cloth, from Latin mappa napkin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apron

mid-15c., faulty separation (cf. adder, umpire) of a napron (c.1300), from Old French naperon "small table-cloth," diminutive of nappe "cloth," from Latin mappa "napkin." Napron was still in use as recently as late 16c. The shift of Latin -m- to -n- was a tendency in Old French (e.g. conter from computare, printemps from primum, natte "mat, matting," from matta). Symbolic of "wife's business" from 1610s. Apron-string tenure was in reference to property held in virtue of one's wife, or during her lifetime only.

Even at his age, he ought not to be always tied to his mother's apron string. [Anne Brontë, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," 1848]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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apron in Science
An area covered by a blanketlike deposit of glacial, eolian, marine, or alluvial sediments, especially an area at the foot of a mountain or in front of a glacier.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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