- to make a dull, continued, low, monotonous sound; hum; buzz.
- to speak in a monotonous tone.
- to proceed in a dull, monotonous manner (usually followed by on): The meeting droned on for hours.
- to say in a dull, monotonous tone.
- a continuous low tone produced by the bass pipes or bass strings of musical instruments.
- the pipes (especially of the bagpipe) or strings producing this tone.
- a bagpipe equipped with such pipes.
- a monotonous low tone; humming or buzzing sound.
- a person who speaks in a monotonous tone.
Origin of drone2
- a male bee in a colony of social bees, whose sole function is to mate with the queen
- British a person who lives off the work of others
- a pilotless radio-controlled aircraft
- (intr) to make a monotonous low dull sound; buzz or hum
- (when intr, often foll by on) to utter (words) in a monotonous tone, esp to talk without stopping
- a monotonous low dull sound
- a sustained bass note or chord of unvarying pitch accompanying a melody
- (as modifier)a drone bass
- music one of the single-reed pipes in a set of bagpipes, used for accompanying the melody played on the chanter
- a person who speaks in a low monotonous tone
Word Origin and History for drone-on
Old English dran, dræn "male honeybee," from Proto-Germanic *dran- (cf. Middle Dutch drane; Old High German treno; German Drohne, which is from Middle Low German drone), probably imitative; given a figurative sense of "idler, lazy worker" (male bees make no honey) 1520s. Meaning "pilotless aircraft" is from 1946.
Drones, as the radio-controlled craft are called, have many potentialities, civilian and military. Some day huge mother ships may guide fleets of long-distance, cargo-carrying airplanes across continents and oceans. Long-range drones armed with atomic bombs could be flown by accompanying mother ships to their targets and in for perfect hits. ["Popular Science," November, 1946]
Meaning "deep, continuous humming sound" is early 16c., apparently imitative (cf. threnody). The verb in the sound sense is early 16c.; it often is the characteristic sound of airplane engines. Related: Droned; droning.
- A male bee, especially a honeybee whose only function is to fertilize the queen. Drones have no stingers, do no work, and do not produce honey.
In military usage, a pilotless aircraft used for reconnaissance and, more recently, for launching aerial attacks.