[ey-pruh n]
See more synonyms for apron on Thesaurus.com
  1. a garment covering part of the front of the body and tied at the waist, for protecting the wearer's clothing: a kitchen apron.
  2. Anglican Church. a similar garment extending to the knees, worn by bishops, deans, and archdeans.
  3. a metal plate or cover, usually vertical, for a machine, mechanism, artillery piece, etc., for protecting those who operate it.
  4. a continuous conveyor belt for bulk materials, consisting of a chain of steel plates.
  5. (in a lathe) a part of the carriage holding the clutches and gears moving the toolholder.
  6. a paved or hard-packed area abutting an airfield's buildings and hangars, where planes are parked, loaded, or the like.
  7. a broad paved area used for parking cars, as at the end of a driveway.
  8. Civil Engineering.
    1. any device for protecting a surface of earth, as a riverbank, from the action of moving water.
    2. a platform to receive the water falling over a dam.
  9. the part of a stage floor in front of the curtain line.
  10. Furniture. skirt(def 6).
  11. the outer border of a green of a golf course.
  12. the part of the floor of a boxing ring that extends outside the ropes.
  13. Also called skirt. a flat, broad piece of interior window trim immediately beneath the sill.
  14. a strip of metal set into masonry and bent down to cover the upper edge of flashing; counterflashing.
  15. the open part of a pier for loading and unloading vessels.
  16. Nautical. (in a wooden vessel) a piece reinforcing the stem on the after side and leading down to the deadwood.
  17. Geology. a deposit of gravel and sand at the base of a mountain or extending from the edges of a glacier.
  18. the frill of long hairs on the throat and chest of certain long-haired dogs, as the collie.
  19. a structure erected around another structure, as for reinforcement or decoration: a high fence surrounded by a wire apron buried in the ground.
verb (used with object)
  1. to put an apron on; furnish with an apron.
  2. to surround in the manner of an apron: The inner city is aproned by low-cost housing.

Origin of apron

1275–1325; 1925–30 for def 6; 1900–05 for def 8; Middle English napron (by later misconstruing a napron as an apron) < Middle French naperon, equivalent to nape tablecloth (< Latin mappa napkin; cf. map) + -ron diminutive suffix
Related formsa·pron·like, adjectiveun·a·proned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for apron

smock, cover, shield, pinafore

Examples from the Web for apron

Contemporary Examples of apron

Historical Examples of apron

  • Tillie, at Mrs. McKee's, stood in the doorway and fanned herself with her apron.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Dilly got briskly up and gathered a drawer-full of papers into her apron.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Mrs. Pendleton hurried forward, wiping her hands on her apron as she went.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • "David's harnessin' now," said Mary, beginning to untie her apron.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Mistress Affery, with a suppressed cry, threw her apron over her head.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for apron


  1. a protective or sometimes decorative or ceremonial garment worn over the front of the body and tied around the waist
  2. the part of a stage extending in front of the curtain line; forestage
  3. a hard-surfaced area in front of or around an aircraft hangar, terminal building, etc, upon which aircraft can stand
  4. a continuous conveyor belt composed usually of slats linked together
  5. a protective plate screening the operator of a machine, artillery piece, etc
  6. a ground covering of concrete or other material used to protect the underlying earth from water erosion
  7. a panel or board between a window and a skirting in a room
  8. geology a sheet of sand, gravel, etc, deposited at the front of a moraine
  9. golf the part of the fairway leading onto the green
  10. machinery the housing for the lead screw gears of a lathe
  11. another name for skirt (def. 3)
  12. tied to someone's apron strings dependent on or dominated by someone, esp a mother or wife
  1. (tr) to protect or provide with an apron

Word Origin for apron

C16: mistaken division (as if an apron) of earlier a napron, from Old French naperon a little cloth, from nape cloth, from Latin mappa napkin
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 apron

mid-15c., faulty separation (cf. adder, umpire) of a napron (c.1300), from Old French naperon "small table-cloth," diminutive of nappe "cloth," from Latin mappa "napkin." Napron was still in use as recently as late 16c. The shift of Latin -m- to -n- was a tendency in Old French (e.g. conter from computare, printemps from primum, natte "mat, matting," from matta). Symbolic of "wife's business" from 1610s. Apron-string tenure was in reference to property held in virtue of one's wife, or during her lifetime only.

Even at his age, he ought not to be always tied to his mother's apron string. [Anne Brontë, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," 1848]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

apron in Science


  1. An area covered by a blanketlike deposit of glacial, eolian, marine, or alluvial sediments, especially an area at the foot of a mountain or in front of a glacier.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.