1 [prop]
verb (used with object), propped, propping.
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.
to rest (a thing) against a support: He propped his cane against the wall.
to support or sustain (often followed by up ).
a stick, rod, pole, beam, or other rigid support.
a person or thing serving as a support or stay: His father is his financial prop.

1400–50; late Middle English proppe (noun); cognate with Middle Dutch proppe bottle stopper

unpropped, adjective

1. brace, buttress, bolster. Unabridged


2 [prop]
noun Theater.
property ( def 8 ).

1910–15; by shortening

propless, adjective


3 [prop]
a propeller.

1910–15; by shortening


a combining form representing propionic acid in compound words: propanil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prop1 (prɒp)
vb (when tr, often foll by up) (usually also foll by against) , props, propping, propped
1.  (tr) to support with a rigid object, such as a stick
2.  to place or lean
3.  (tr) to sustain or support
4.  (Austral), (NZ) (intr) to stop suddenly or unexpectedly
5.  something that gives rigid support, such as a stick
6.  a person or thing giving support, as of a moral or spiritual nature
7.  rugby either of the forwards at either end of the front row of a scrum
[C15: related to Middle Dutch proppe vine prop; compare Old High German pfropfo shoot, German Pfropfen stopper]

prop2 (prɒp)
short for property

prop3 (prɒp)
an informal word for propeller

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"support," 1440, from M.Du. proppe "vine prop, support," of unknown origin. Related to O.H.G. pfropfo, Ger. pfropfen "to prop," perhaps from L. propago "a set, layer of a plant" (see propagation). Ir. propa, Gael. prop are from English. The verb meaning "to support" is attested from 1492.

"object used in a play," 1911, from props (1841), shortened form of properties (in theatrical use from early 15c.). Props as slang shortening for proper respects (or something similar) appeared c.1999.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. proper

  2. property

  3. proposition

  4. proprietor

  5. proprietress

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see knock the bottom (props) out from.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
So my hands couldn't hold them still at all, even with a good prop.
Suggest alternatives when the proposed prop or costume isn't accurate.
The findings indicate that the ability to prop up the body is more ancient than
  previously believed.
The kitchen counter bears ledges to prop up little feet.
Image for prop
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