- 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.
- any adult present in order to maintain order or propriety at an activity of young people, as at a school dance.
- 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.
- to attend or accompany as chaperon.
- to act as chaperon.
Origin of chaperon
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for chaperone
He hosted a poetry contest and a talent show, acted as a chaperone for dances, and attended football games.Tony Danza on His New Book About Teaching, ‘Who’s the Boss,’ and ‘Twilight’
September 14, 2012
She was accompanied to the interview with her new Scientology “chaperone.”Katie Holmes, 'Jack and Jill,' and Her Bizarre Career
November 10, 2011
I remarked one evening, as I chatted with Marguerite and her chaperone.City of Endless Night
Luckily it was Helen's aura, not mine, and she had to chaperone it and do the politenesses.Howards End
E. M. Forster
But when it came to the chaperone, a Mrs. Dr. Bowman, things were different.The Million-Dollar Suitcase
"Mrs. Jonas will chaperone the place as ever," replied Mr. Long.Miss Pat at Artemis Lodge
He did though, and lugged me along for a chaperone, which is some out of my line.Shorty McCabe
- (esp formerly) an older or married woman who accompanies or supervises a young unmarried woman on social occasions
- someone who accompanies and supervises a group, esp of young people, usually when in public places
- to act as a chaperon to
Word Origin and History for chaperone
"act as a chaperon," 1792, also chaperone, from chaperon (n.), or from French chaperonner, from chaperon (n.). Related: Chaperoned; chaperoning.
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."