- 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
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
Related Words for dronepurr, whirr, parasite, loafer, idler, sluggard, slug, leech, lounger, sponger, sound, vibration, hum, murmur, buzz, drawl, vibrate, intone, strum, chant
Examples from the Web for drone
Contemporary Examples of drone
The influential al Qaeda propagandist, who was born in New Mexico, died in a U.S. drone strike later that year.France Kills Charlie Hebdo Murderers
January 9, 2015
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.
Historical Examples of drone
All up the Valley the drums' rattle drowned the drone of the locusts in the stubble.In the Valley
The sky above the Vulcan was filled with the drone of hurtling shells.The Cruise of the Dry Dock
T. S. Stribling
From far away came a drone that was separate from the throbbing of his head.Raiders Invisible
Desmond Winter Hall
It was vague and indistinct and the drone plane was shooting the scene from too far away.Decision
Frank M. Robinson
To be proud that one wasn't a loafer or a drone, or a parasite on the body economic.Mixed Faces
Word Origin for drone
- a sustained bass note or chord of unvarying pitch accompanying a melody
- (as modifier)a drone bass
Word Origin 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.
In military usage, a pilotless aircraft used for reconnaissance and, more recently, for launching aerial attacks.