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or chaperone

[shap-uh-rohn] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊn/
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.
verb (used with object)
to attend or accompany as chaperon.
verb (used without object)
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 forms
[shap-uh-roh-nij] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊ nɪdʒ/ (Show IPA),
chaperonless, adjective
1, 4. escort.


[shap-uh-rohn] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊn/
noun, verb (used with or without object), chaperoned, chaperoning.
1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

  • Girls don't want any chaperoning nowadays, boys are much more defenceless.

    Dodo Wonders E. F. Benson
  • As Mary regarded this large and impossible dbutante the mere suggestion of chaperoning him appalled her.

    Good References E. J. Rath
  • The party consisted of half a dozen boys and girls whom Nan was chaperoning, Stuart, the footman and coachman.

    The Root of Evil

    Thomas Dixon
  • She was chaperoning some of the younger girls in town one day, when she met him on the street.

    Why Joan? Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • Mr. Dale mentioned it when he was discussing the question of my chaperoning them this winter.

    Those Dale Girls Frank Weston Carruth
British Dictionary definitions for chaperoning


(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
Derived Forms
chaperonage (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
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Word Origin and History for chaperoning



"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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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