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verb (used with object), propped, prop·ping.
  1. to support, or prevent from falling, with or as if with a prop (often followed by up): to prop an old fence; to prop up an unpopular government.
  2. to rest (a thing) against a support: He propped his cane against the wall.
  3. to support or sustain (often followed by up).
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  1. a stick, rod, pole, beam, or other rigid support.
  2. a person or thing serving as a support or stay: His father is his financial prop.
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Origin of prop1

1400–50; late Middle English proppe (noun); cognate with Middle Dutch proppe bottle stopper
Related formsun·propped, adjective


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noun Theater.
  1. property(def 8).
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Origin of prop2

First recorded in 1910–15; by shortening
Related formsprop·less, adjective


  1. a propeller.
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Origin of prop3

First recorded in 1910–15; by shortening



  1. a combining form representing propionic acid in compound words: propanil.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prop

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Where was the beautiful friendship that had been the comfort, the prop of her bereaved life?

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Get on the prop and we'll see if the old puddle jumper will take off.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • Never heard that folks that set fire to other people's prop'ty got there, did you?

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Wharever does Dave come in to get insultin' action at sech a prop'sition?

    Faro Nell and Her Friends

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • Stan hoiked her tail with a blast of prop pressure and hopped her off.

British Dictionary definitions for prop


verb props, propping or propped (when tr, often foll by up)
  1. (tr) to support with a rigid object, such as a stick
  2. (tr usually also foll by against) to place or lean
  3. (tr) to sustain or support
  4. (intr) Australian and NZ to stop suddenly or unexpectedly
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  1. something that gives rigid support, such as a stick
  2. a person or thing giving support, as of a moral or spiritual nature
  3. rugby either of the forwards at either end of the front row of a scrum
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Word Origin

C15: related to Middle Dutch proppe vine prop; compare Old High German pfropfo shoot, German Pfropfen stopper


  1. short for property (def. 8)
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  1. an informal word for propeller
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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 prop


"support," mid-15c., from Middle Dutch proppe "vine prop, support," of unknown origin. Probably related to Old High German pfropfo, German pfropfen "to prop," perhaps from Latin propago "a set, layer of a plant" (see propagation). Irish propa, Gaelic prop are from English.

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"object used in a play," 1898, from props (1841), shortened form of properties (which was in theatrical use from early 15c.). Props as slang shortening for proper respects (or something similar) appeared c.1999.

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"to support," mid-15c., probably from prop (n.1) or a related verb in Dutch. Related: Propped; propping.

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short for propeller, 1914.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with prop


see knock the bottom (props) out from.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.