Definition of drone in English:

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Pronunciation: /drōn/


[no object]
1Make a continuous low humming sound: in the far distance a machine droned
More example sentences
  • His voice droned and buzzed in Sean's ears like a hovering bee, more so today than any other day.
  • He had heard that Mileson was very hands-on but still couldn't believe his eyes during an early team talk as the sound of a vacuum cleaner droned in the background.
  • The cicadas droned all the way home, joined by grasshoppers who sounded like gadgets of gears and springs.
hum, buzz, whirr, vibrate, murmur, rumble, purr
1.1Speak tediously in a dull monotonous tone: he reached for another beer while Jim droned on
More example sentences
  • Most people on the shuttle droned in monotonous tones about subjects so boring it should be a criminal offense to talk about, and the employees were ever cheerful in words, but in expression they belonged in the mental institution.
  • The voice of the teacher droned on monotonously about some mathematical formula, but the normally attentive teenager had other things on his mind.
  • Throughout the entire class I fought to keep myself awake as the teacher droned on in monotone.
speak boringly, go on and on, talk at length;
intone, pontificate
informal spout, sound off, jaw, spiel, speechify, bloviate
1.2 [with adverbial of direction] Move with a continuous humming sound: traffic droned up and down the street
More example sentences
  • There are bumble bees buzzing and droning around my spring flowers.
  • Heading for Utah Beach, Jack, aboard water barge LBW in the 34th Flotilla, heard the buzz of low flying Dakotas as they droned in from the sea towing their camouflaged gliders.


1A low continuous humming sound: he nodded off to the drone of the car engine
More example sentences
  • My brother hummed turbine noises, but the drone of thunder muted him.
  • The drone begins to sound similar to a vacuum cleaner sucking up all the surrounding life.
  • Both drones and noise are essential elements in music.
hum, buzz, whirr, vibration, murmur, purr
1.1 informal A monotonous speech: only twenty minutes of the hour-long drone had passed
More example sentences
  • Zac talked in a monotonous drone about the hidden treasures of Egypt, the esoteric wisdom that Aristotle stole, or was it Plato, and then the Egyptians forgot everything.
  • Viceroy's voice was still a monotonous drone, and I wanted to slap him just to see that he could still talk and/or yell with emotion.
  • So when I reach my classroom, I listen to the monotonous drone of the teacher.
1.2A continuous musical note, typically of low pitch.
Example sentences
  • The former track is comprised almost entirely of bass-heavy drones and pulsating synth waves, slow echoes fading into the ether.
  • The melodies are almost invariably composed with buzzing, pleasantly grating synthesizer drones.
  • Hissing drones and cymbal crashes sweep away any memory of the former's dulcet overtones.
1.3A musical instrument, or part of one, sounding a continuous note, in particular (also drone pipe) a pipe in a bagpipe or (also drone string) a string in an instrument such as a hurdy-gurdy or a sitar.
Example sentences
  • The poem ‘Saxophone’ repeats the word money in almost every line, every phrase, until it becomes a drone string on a banjo, a bass note that's always there.
  • Move interstate but always have it in the back of your mind to return one day, just to see if New Editions Bookshop is still there and to lay a drone pipe atop his grave.
  • There are two components other than the bag which set the Bagpipes from other instruments, the reed chanter and the drone pipes.
2A male bee in a colony of social bees, which does no work but can fertilize a queen.
Example sentences
  • According to scientific descriptions, a honeybee colony consists of one queen, several thousand worker bees, and at certain times of the year, a few to several thousand drones, or male bees.
  • Whilst most animals, including humans, inherit one set of chromosomes from their mother, and a matching set from their father, male bee drones get by on one set alone.
  • The queen bee is serviced by her male drones, and then she kills them off one by one.
2.1A person who does no useful work and lives off others.
Example sentences
  • The Union Movement must submit to a purge, it must harshly discard the parasitical drones and rebuild the hive.
  • It is possible that this structure could accomplish something, if these relatives, cronies, hangers on, drones and bludgers were of any consequence, or even if they were a little better than mediocre.
  • It should have been a good line, but he sounded like a petulant drone with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.
hanger-on, parasite, leech, passenger, bottom feeder;
idler, loafer, layabout, good-for-nothing, do-nothing
informal lazybones, scrounger, sponger, freeloader, slacker
3A remote-controlled pilotless aircraft or missile.
Example sentences
  • The EU lacks heavy-lift aircraft, attack helicopters, fighter/ground attack aircraft, and unmanned drones, and has to rely on American spy satellites for basic intelligence.
  • With a nuclear ballistic missile against a drone, a near miss was counted as a hit.
  • And remote control aircraft, or drones, will be used for the first time.


Old English drān, drǣn 'male bee', from a West Germanic verb meaning 'resound, boom'; related to Dutch dreunen 'to drone', German dröhnen 'to roar', and Swedish dröna 'to drowse'.

Words that rhyme with drone

alone, atone, Beaune, bemoan, blown, bone, Capone, clone, Cohn, Cologne, condone, cone, co-own, crone, enthrone, flown, foreknown, foreshown, groan, grown, half-tone, home-grown, hone, Joan, known, leone, loan, lone, mephedrone, moan, Mon, mown, ochone, outflown, outgrown, own, phone, pone, prone, Rhône, roan, rone, sewn, shown, Simone, Sloane, Soane, sone, sown, stone, strown, throne, thrown, tone, trombone, Tyrone, unbeknown, undersown, windblown, zone

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: drone

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