Between his hands, huge as hams, moaned and sucked and suffled and droned a much-patched accordion.
He say,” droned the interpreter, “how much cattle you want to buy?
Doctor Bates's admirable sermons had droned on over his head like the dreamy humming of bees in a summer day.
"The Sweet By and By" droned on, over and over, in the dark stuffiness of the crowded room.
The racing water-ridges glimmered faintly in the dusk and the roar of the falls droned in unwavering monotony.
He droned on in the night, with rising and falling inflections.
Suddenly fell a rumbling thunder-clap that droned through all the wood and died away in a long chain of rough sounds.
"There is a sphere, a foot in diameter, ten feet from me," droned Arcot.
Watts droned along and shut his eyes and mumbled some words, and then burst out with the chorus.
He droned on for some minutes, and then his voice died away.
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.
In military usage, a pilotless aircraft used for reconnaissance and, more recently, for launching aerial attacks.