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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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to attend or accompany as chaperon.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to act as chaperon.
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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.

chaperone

[shap-uh-rohn]
noun, verb (used with or without object), chap·er·oned, chap·er·on·ing.
  1. chaperon.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chaperoning

Historical Examples

  • "Girls, do be dignified," urged Mrs. Medford, who was chaperoning them.

    Frank Merriwell's Pursuit

    Burt L. Standish

  • Are you chaperoning your usual bevy of young ladies this year?

    Mal Moule

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • I told him that you had invited me to go with a lady who is chaperoning a party of girls.

    Daddy Long-Legs

    Jean Webster

  • Kitty—Charley's sister, Mrs. Bleecker—did the chaperoning for us.

    Lady Baltimore

    Owen Wister

  • Miss Stuart and Miss Porter, who were chaperoning the party, sat beside the driver, where all good chaperons ought to sit.


British Dictionary definitions for chaperoning

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
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verb
  1. to act as a chaperon to
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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 chaperoning

chaperon

v.

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

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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper