drone

1 [drohn]
noun
1.
the male of the honeybee and other bees, stingless and making no honey. See illus. under bee.
2.
a.
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.
b.
(loosely) any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely: a radio-controlled drone.
3.
a person who lives on the labor of others; parasitic loafer.
4.
a drudge.

Origin:
before 1000; 1945–50 for def 2a; Middle English drone, drane, Old English dran, dron; akin to Old High German treno, German Drohne

dronish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged

drone

2 [drohn]
verb (used without object), droned, droning.
1.
to make a dull, continued, low, monotonous sound; hum; buzz.
2.
to speak in a monotonous tone.
3.
to proceed in a dull, monotonous manner (usually followed by on ): The meeting droned on for hours.
verb (used with object), droned, droning.
4.
to say in a dull, monotonous tone.
noun
5.
Music.
a.
a continuous low tone produced by the bass pipes or bass strings of musical instruments.
b.
the pipes (especially of the bagpipe) or strings producing this tone.
c.
a bagpipe equipped with such pipes.
6.
a monotonous low tone; humming or buzzing sound.
7.
a person who speaks in a monotonous tone.

Origin:
1490–1500; see drone1 and compare Middle English droun to roar, Icelandic drynja to bellow, Gothic drunjus noise

droner, noun
droningly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
drone1 (drəʊn)
 
n
1.  a male bee in a colony of social bees, whose sole function is to mate with the queen
2.  (Brit) a person who lives off the work of others
3.  a pilotless radio-controlled aircraft
 
[Old English drān; related to Old High German treno drone, Gothic drunjus noise, Greek tenthrēnē wasp; see drone²]
 
'dronish1
 
adj

drone2 (drəʊn)
 
vb (when intr, often foll by on)
1.  (intr) to make a monotonous low dull sound; buzz or hum
2.  to utter (words) in a monotonous tone, esp to talk without stopping
 
n
3.  a monotonous low dull sound
4.  music
 a.  a sustained bass note or chord of unvarying pitch accompanying a melody
 b.  (as modifier): a drone bass
5.  music one of the single-reed pipes in a set of bagpipes, used for accompanying the melody played on the chanter
6.  a person who speaks in a low monotonous tone
 
[C16: related to drone1 and Middle Dutch drōnen, German dröhnen]
 
'droning2
 
adj
 
'droningly2
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

drone
O.E. dran, dræn "male honeybee," from P.Gmc. *dran-, probably imitative; given a figurative sense of "idler, lazy worker" (male bees make no honey) 1520s. Meaning "pilotless aircraft" is from 1946. The verb in the sound sense is c.1500, apparently imitative. Related: Droned; droning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
drone   (drōn)  Pronunciation Key 
A male bee, especially a honeybee whose only function is to fertilize the queen. Drones have no stingers, do no work, and do not produce honey.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

drone definition


In military usage, a pilotless aircraft used for reconnaissance and, more recently, for launching aerial attacks.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The one-bedroom unit can get hot, so he turns on a fan that will drone noisily throughout our talk.
He would drone (or meander) on and on in a steady (and steadily slow) monotone that threadened to put even disciples to sleep.
She looked back at the television, where Peter was continuing to drone on, but she didn't hear him.
Lifeless and lumpish as the bagpipe's drowsy drone.
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