verb (used with object), draped, drap·ing.
  1. to cover or hang with cloth or other fabric, especially in graceful folds; adorn with drapery.
  2. to adjust (curtains, clothes, etc.) into graceful folds, attractive lines, etc.
  3. to arrange, hang, or let fall carelessly: Don't drape your feet over the chair!
  4. Medicine/Medical, Surgery. to place cloth so as to surround (a part to be examined, treated, or operated upon).
  5. (in reinforced-concrete construction) to hang (reinforcement) in a certain form between two points before pouring the concrete.
  6. to put a black cravat on (a flagstaff) as a token of mourning.
verb (used without object), draped, drap·ing.
  1. to hang, fall, or become arranged in folds, as drapery: This silk drapes well.
  1. a curtain or hanging of heavy fabric and usually considerable length, especially either of a pair for covering a window and drawn open and shut horizontally.
  2. either of a pair of similar curtains extending or draped at the sides of a window, French doors, or the like as decoration.
  3. manner or style of hanging: the drape of a skirt.

Origin of drape

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French draper, derivative of drap cloth (see drab1)
Related formsdrap·a·ble, drape·a·ble, adjectivedrap·a·bil·i·ty, drape·a·bil·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for drapes

Contemporary Examples of drapes

  • Drapes closed, no music, no laughter; finally, Sonia had enough and literally shook Mom by the lapels.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Sotomayor's Rising Star

    Michael Tomasky

    January 14, 2013

  • If you want to suss out the cleanliness and hygiene level of any hotel, take a quick look behind furniture and drapes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Gordon Ramsay: 7 Hotel Horrors!

    Gordon Ramsay

    August 9, 2012

  • Venus trine Neptune drapes you in glamour, making even your negligence chic.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Stars Predict Your Week

    Starsky + Cox

    October 2, 2011

  • Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, on the other hand, juxtaposed sharp tuxedo jackets with romantic Grecian drapes.

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    The Best of Paris Fashion Week

    Isabel Wilkinson

    October 7, 2009

Historical Examples of drapes

British Dictionary definitions for drapes


draperies (ˈdreɪpərɪz)

pl n mainly US and Canadian
  1. curtains, esp ones of heavy fabric


  1. (tr) to hang or cover with flexible material or fabric, usually in folds; adorn
  2. to hang or arrange or be hung or arranged, esp in folds
  3. (tr) to place casually and loosely; hangshe draped her arm over the back of the chair
  1. (often plural) a cloth or hanging that covers something in folds; drapery
  2. the way in which fabric hangs
See also drapes
Derived Formsdrapable or drapeable, adjective

Word Origin for drape

C15: from Old French draper, from drap piece of cloth; see drab 1
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 drapes

"curtains," 1895, see drape (n.).



c.1400, "to ornament with cloth hangings;" mid-15c., "to weave into cloth," from Old French draper "to weave, make cloth" (13c.), from drap "cloth, piece of cloth, sheet, bandage," from Late Latin drapus, perhaps of Gaulish origin (cf. Old Irish drapih "mantle, garment"). Meaning "to cover with drapery" is from 1847. Meaning "to cause to hang or stretch out loosely or carelessly" is from 1943. Related: Draped; draping.



1660s, from drape (v.). Jive talk slang for "suit of clothes" is attested from 1945.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

drapes in Medicine


  1. To cover, dress, or hang with or as if with cloth in loose folds.
  1. A cloth arranged over a patient's body during an examination or treatment or during surgery, designed to provide a sterile field around the area.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.