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or chaperone

[shap-uh-rohn] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊn/
a person, usually a married or older woman, who, for propriety, accompanies a young unmarried woman in public or who attends a party of young unmarried men and women.
any adult present in order to maintain order or propriety at an activity of young people, as at a school dance.
a round headdress of stuffed cloth with wide cloth streamers that fall from the crown or are draped around it, worn in the 15th century.
verb (used with object)
to attend or accompany as chaperon.
verb (used without object)
to act as chaperon.
Origin of chaperon
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French: hood, cowl, equivalent to chape cape1 + -eron noun suffix; figurative sense < French (18th century)
Related forms
[shap-uh-roh-nij] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊ nɪdʒ/ (Show IPA),
chaperonless, adjective
1, 4. escort. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chaperon
Historical Examples
  • If you're keen on it, I don't see why you shouldn't—if you had a chaperon.

  • You, with no chaperon, to go to a common ball at a public room!

    The New Tenant E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • She was bound for Devil Island, and neither the girls nor their chaperon had wished to be left behind.

    Frank Merriwell's Cruise Burt L. Standish
  • You're babes in the wood without a chaperon or referee, and it's my duty to start you going.

  • So fur's I sabe there's been some remahks passed concernin' her stayin' here 'thout a chaperon, so to speak.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • I am chaperon, and you are one of the few men she appears to know.

  • Mrs. Ford, worn out with war work, had gone with the girls to chaperon them.

  • Like any boy, he blushed and was ashamed; he knew that the chaperon remembered.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
  • You happen to know, I suppose, what is called a chaperon in matters of love.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • He had unbounded faith in Pina's devotion to him and in her severity as a chaperon.

    Stradella F(rancis) Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for chaperon


(esp formerly) an older or married woman who accompanies or supervises a young unmarried woman on social occasions
someone who accompanies and supervises a group, esp of young people, usually when in public places
to act as a chaperon to
Derived Forms
chaperonage (ˈʃæpərənɪdʒ) noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from chape hood, protective covering; see cap
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
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Word Origin and History for chaperon

1720, "woman accompanying a younger, unmarried lady in public," from French chaperon "protector," especially "female companion to a young woman," earlier "head covering, hood" (c.1400), from Old French chaperon "hood, cowl" (12c.), diminutive of chape "cape" (see cap (n.)). "... English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination" [OED]. The notion is of "covering" the socially vulnerable one.

"May I ask what is a chaperon?"
"A married lady; without whom no unmarried one can be seen in public. If the damsel be five and forty, she cannot appear without the matron; and if the matron be fifteen, it will do."
[Catharine Hutton, "The Welsh Mountaineer," London, 1817]
The word had been used in Middle English in the literal sense "hooded cloak."


"act as a chaperon," 1792, also chaperone, from chaperon (n.), or from French chaperonner, from chaperon (n.). Related: Chaperoned; chaperoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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