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chaperon

or chap·er·one

[shap-uh-rohn]
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noun
  1. a person, usually a married or older woman, who, for propriety, accompanies a young unmarried woman in public or who attends a party of young unmarried men and women.
  2. any adult present in order to maintain order or propriety at an activity of young people, as at a school dance.
  3. a round headdress of stuffed cloth with wide cloth streamers that fall from the crown or are draped around it, worn in the 15th century.
verb (used with object)
  1. to attend or accompany as chaperon.
verb (used without object)
  1. to act as chaperon.

Origin of chaperon

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French: hood, cowl, equivalent to chape cape1 + -eron noun suffix; figurative sense < French (18th century)
Related formschap·er·on·age [shap-uh-roh-nij] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊ nɪdʒ/, nounchap·er·on·less, adjective

Synonyms

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1, 4. escort.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chaperon

Historical Examples

  • To her the thought of his engagement was as good or as bad as a chaperon.

    The Incomplete Amorist

    E. Nesbit

  • Besides, there was something of the chaperon about that collar.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • It's quite fairly respectable to dine without a chaperon—since the war.

  • “I could arrange a little dinner and ask some one to chaperon,” he suggested.

    The Wall Street Girl

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • You can take my place as Bettina's chaperon, and Delia will take care of the house.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey


British Dictionary definitions for chaperon

chaperon

chaperone

noun
  1. (esp formerly) an older or married woman who accompanies or supervises a young unmarried woman on social occasions
  2. someone who accompanies and supervises a group, esp of young people, usually when in public places
verb
  1. to act as a chaperon to
Derived Formschaperonage (ˈʃæpərənɪdʒ), noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French, from chape hood, protective covering; see cap
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

Word Origin and History for chaperon

n.

1720, "woman accompanying a younger, unmarried lady in public," from French chaperon "protector," especially "female companion to a young woman," earlier "head covering, hood" (c.1400), from Old French chaperon "hood, cowl" (12c.), diminutive of chape "cape" (see cap (n.)). "... English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination" [OED]. The notion is of "covering" the socially vulnerable one.

"May I ask what is a chaperon?"
"A married lady; without whom no unmarried one can be seen in public. If the damsel be five and forty, she cannot appear without the matron; and if the matron be fifteen, it will do."
[Catharine Hutton, "The Welsh Mountaineer," London, 1817]

The word had been used in Middle English in the literal sense "hooded cloak."

v.

"act as a chaperon," 1792, also chaperone, from chaperon (n.), or from French chaperonner, from chaperon (n.). Related: Chaperoned; chaperoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper