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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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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for propping

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Over this they had pitched the tent, using the rock for table, propping their dummies about it.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • With unnatural strength he had succeeded in propping himself on his elbow.

    Crime and Punishment

    Fyodor Dostoevsky

  • The old bridge had stood, with propping and patching, six centuries.

  • We are propping up the Consolidated Water Company in this state.

    The Landloper

    Holman Day

  • By entering carefully, propping up the roof, they could save it.


    Benito Prez Galds

British Dictionary definitions for propping


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 propping



"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 propping


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.