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[shap-uh-rohn] /ˈʃæp əˌroʊn/
noun, verb (used with object), verb (used without object), chaperoned, chaperoning.


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 chaperone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They should not be able to say I could not chaperone myself in any situation.

    Red Hair Elinor Glyn
  • I remarked one evening, as I chatted with Marguerite and her chaperone.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • As it had not, she expressed herself ready to chaperone anybody.

    Dodo's Daughter E. F. Benson
  • Luckily it was Helen's aura, not mine, and she had to chaperone it and do the politenesses.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • And don't forget to send 'The chaperone' home by Mr. Edwards to-morrow night.

    The Librarian at Play Edmund Lester Pearson
  • But when it came to the chaperone, a Mrs. Dr. Bowman, things were different.

  • A round of blue paper under our chaperone's arm caught the eye of Mr. Dod.

    A Voyage of Consolation Sara Jeannette Duncan
  • He did though, and lugged me along for a chaperone, which is some out of my line.

    Shorty McCabe Sewell Ford
British Dictionary definitions for chaperone


(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 chaperone



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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