noun, often attributive
\ ˈā-prən How to pronounce apron (audio) , -pərn \

Definition of apron

1 : a garment usually of cloth, plastic, or leather usually tied around the waist and used to protect clothing or adorn a costume
2 : something that suggests or resembles an apron in shape, position, or use: such as
a : the lower member under the sill of the interior casing of a window
b : an upward or downward vertical extension of a bathroom fixture (such as a sink or tub)
c : an endless belt for carrying material
d : an extensive fan-shaped deposit of detritus
e : the part of the stage in front of the proscenium arch
f : the area along the waterfront edge of a pier or wharf
g : a shield (as of concrete or gravel) to protect against erosion (as of a waterway) by water
h : the extensive paved part of an airport immediately adjacent to the terminal area or hangars

Other Words from apron

aproned \ ˈā-​prənd How to pronounce apron (audio) , -​pərnd \ adjective

Did you know?

In medieval French, a diminutive form of nape, meaning “tablecloth,” was naperon, which referred to a small cloth that is placed over a more elegant tablecloth to protect it from stains. This word appears in English of the 14th century as napron and also denoted a protective cloth, but one that was placed over clothing rather than on a table. Because in speech it is often difficult to tell where word boundaries fall, a napron was incorrectly understood to be an apron. The new form apron effectively replaced napron by the 17th century, which completely obscured the etymological relation of apron to napkin, the name of another protective cloth.

Examples of apron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As for the apron, any team who could get Ayton in a sign-and-trade can't surpass the 2022-23 season’s luxury tax threshold set at $150.26 million in salary immediately after or anytime following the trade. Dana Scott, USA TODAY, 5 July 2022 As for the apron, any team who could get Ayton in a sign-and-trade can't surpass the 2022-23 season’s luxury tax threshold set at $150.26 million in salary immediately after or anytime following the trade. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 4 July 2022 Any team that does receive a player in a sign-and-trade can't cross the apron at any point in that league year. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 27 June 2022 The sound could be heard coming from a part of the mobbed track apron, just east of the finish line. Los Angeles Times, 25 Dec. 2021 Nearby, an apron and other pieces of clothing hang from the upper branches of a tree, swept there by an explosion, according to the residents. New York Times, 24 July 2022 Palvin wore a white blouse under a blue skirt and apron and had her hair in pigtails, while Sprouse wore a gingham plaid shirt under a dark blue waistcoat with tan shorts. Jessica Sager, PEOPLE.com, 22 July 2022 Student Paloma Hernandez, 21, walked Carvalho through the process of washing his hands and putting on an apron and gloves to participate in sanitary food preparation. Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 But an apron can indeed be found in both a kitchen and a concert hall or theater. Erik Kain, Forbes, 16 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apron.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of apron

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apron

Middle English apron, aperon, alteration (by misdivision of a napron as an apron) of naproun, naperon, napron, borrowed from Anglo-French naperoun "napkin for drying one's hands," earlier Latinized as napero, naperona "cloth to cover a table or other surface, towel, apron," from nape "tablecloth" (going back to Vulgar Latin *nappa, by dissimilation from Latin mappa "piece of cloth used as a towel or napkin") + -eron, diminutive suffix — more at map entry 1, aileron

Note: Although modern French retains the word napperon in the sense "protective piece of cloth, as a table mat, placed on a piece of furniture," the diversification in sense that led to "apron" in English appears to have taken place only in Anglo-French. The Middle English Dictionary records naproun, naperon, etc., only in the sense "apron," according to the judgment of the editors, but nearly all the citations are from payment records or inventories that appear to reveal little about the meaning of the word. The Anglo-Norman Dictionary has a single citation for naperoun, from a courtesy manual of ca. 1430, where it means something like "napkin": "Sur le naperoun voz mains suetz, Ne frotez voz gencies" ("Wipe your hands on the naperoun, don't rub your gums"). Continental evidence for the word apparently does not extend before the fourteenth century. The Anglo-French word is demonstrably earlier, however. The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources first records naperon in the English Close Rolls as something for which cloth was required in 1215. An entry for 1274 in the household book of Henry, son of Edward I, registers payment for canvas cloth purchased "for covering garments of the same and for naperones in the kitchen" ("pro x ulnis canubie emptis ad cooperiendas robas eorundem et ad naperones in coquina"). Here the word naperones clearly points to a kind of apron. This use is confirmed by a passage from the Exchequer's accounts for 1313: "for canvas purchased for napron' made to preserve the falconers' clothes while they feed the falcons" ("pro canabo empto pro napron' faciend' pro salvacione pannorum falconariorum in pascendo falcones").

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The first known use of apron was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apron.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apron. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for apron


\ ˈā-prən How to pronounce apron (audio) \

Kids Definition of apron

1 : a piece of cloth worn on the front of the body to keep clothing from getting dirty
2 : a paved area for parking or handling airplanes

More from Merriam-Webster on apron

Nglish: Translation of apron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apron for Arabic Speakers


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