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1. A male bee, especially a honeybee, that is characteristically stingless, performs no work, and produces no honey. Its only function is to mate with the queen bee.
2. An idle person who lives off others; a loafer.
3. A person who does tedious or menial work; a drudge: "undervalued drones who labored in obscurity" (Caroline Bates).
4. A remotely controlled or autonomous aircraft with no pilot on board. Also called unmanned aircraft system.
[Middle English, from Old English drān. Sense 4, originally 1930s US naval jargon introduced by Commander (later Rear Admiral) Delmer Fahrney (1898-1984), in reference to the fact that such pilotless aircraft, at first used for target practice, were controlled by an operator on the ground or in a mother ship or aircraft, likened to a queen bee.]
v. droned, dron·ing, drones
1. To make a continuous low dull humming sound: "Somewhere an electric fan droned without end" (William Styron).
2. To speak in a monotonous tone: The lecturer droned on for hours.
3. To pass or act in a monotonous way.
To utter in a monotonous low tone: "The mosquitoes droned their angry chant" (W. Somerset Maugham).
1. A continuous low humming or buzzing sound.
a. Any of the pipes of a bagpipe that lack finger holes and produce a single tone.
b. A long sustained tone.
c. Any of various instruments that produce only a constant pitch.
[From drone (from the bee's humming sound).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002