- an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight: the GPS of a U.S. spy drone.
- (loosely) any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely: a radio-controlled drone.
Origin of drone1
Definition for drone (2 of 2)
verb (used without object), droned, dron·ing.
verb (used with object), droned, dron·ing.
- 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.
Origin of drone2
Examples from the Web for drone
The influential al Qaeda propagandist, who was born in New Mexico, died in a U.S. drone strike later that year.
But it takes more than just pilots to operate the drone fleet.
In other words, the Air Force is saying that its drone force has been stretched to its limits.
The result is that drone operators are leaving the Air Force in droves.
The Air Force has about seven pilots for every eight drone pilot slots, in other words.
"Suppose you hang yourself up and make wax then," said one Drone.Among the Farmyard People|Clara Dillingham Pierson
They had been traveling some four or five hours since leaving their camp when Bill heard the drone of an airplane engine.Bill Bruce on Forest Patrol|Henry Harley Arnold
The young bee held it out in silence—unmistakably a drone leg incapable of packing pollen.Actions and Reactions|Rudyard Kipling
The bell had been silent for a minute, and the curate's voice had begun to drone within the building.Bulldog And Butterfly|David Christie Murray
The last lizard scuttled away, and the drone of the insects ceased.The Riflemen of the Ohio|Joseph A. Altsheler
British Dictionary definitions for drone (1 of 2)
Word Origin for drone
British Dictionary definitions for drone (2 of 2)
- a sustained bass note or chord of unvarying pitch accompanying a melody
- (as modifier)a drone bass
Word Origin for drone
Word Origin and History for drone
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.
Science definitions for drone
Culture definitions for drone
In military usage, a pilotless aircraft used for reconnaissance and, more recently, for launching aerial attacks.