Definition of gown in US English:



  • 1A long dress, typically having a close-fitting bodice and a flared or flowing skirt, worn on formal occasions.

    ‘a silk ball gown’
    • ‘Only a handful of people were actually dressed up in gowns and tuxedos.’
    • ‘Roman watched as his mother emerged from her room, dressed in her ball gown and sparkling in rubies.’
    • ‘When one goes to great effort and expense for that perfect gown, no one wants to see it on someone else.’
    • ‘They dressed in their finest gowns of silk and satin, jewels of gold, elegant shoes and shawls.’
    • ‘I slipped into a scarlet red gown and some black platforms.’
    • ‘They walked to the very end of the manor, and entered a huge hall filled with lords and ladies, all dressed splendidly in flowing gowns and silk suits, embroidered with golden designs.’
    • ‘Many cruises still offer one or more optional formal dinners where ladies where long formal gowns or other evening dresses and gentlemen wear tuxedos or dark suits.’
    • ‘The bridesmaids ran around in their delightfully elegant pastel pink organza gowns.’
    • ‘Everyone was dressed in luxurious gowns and tuxes.’
    • ‘The gowns were grand and formal, but still utterly feminine.’
    • ‘Another woman there had been a lifelong seamstress who made elegant gowns.’
    • ‘Suzanne has designed, cut and sewn the most individual, creative and elegant gowns worn by celebrities for the past 20 years.’
    • ‘I walked slowly, observing the fancy ball gowns and simple wool dresses.’
    • ‘Juliana was wearing a pink low-necked gown with puffed sleeves.’
    • ‘All around there were hundreds of dresses and gowns for all occasions hanging upon the walls.’
    • ‘She looked absolutely lovely in her elegant gown of pale yellow, which brought out the golden highlights in her long hair.’
    • ‘I was walking faster and faster down the aisle when I realized I was standing on the train of my aunt's bridal gown.’
    • ‘She was very pretty in an elegant gown, clutching a bouquet of pink tulips.’
    • ‘The model stood wearing a beautiful white wedding gown with lots of pretty jewelry.’
    • ‘We are renewing our vows a week before in Las Vegas and the one thing I would really love is an original wedding gown.’
    dress, frock, shift, robe
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A dressing gown.
      • ‘Dressing gowns of various designs were popular and slippers of all shapes and sizes kept the toes warm.’
      • ‘The next morning, I changed into a fresh gown from the wardrobe and went into the bathroom to give myself a quick brushing and washing up.’
      • ‘Her hair was pinned in yesterday's curlers and her bathrobe hung limply around her, like a dirty gown.’
      • ‘Down in Santa's bedroom his nightcap and gown hangs on the end of the bed.’
    2. 1.2 A protective garment worn in hospital, either by a staff member during surgery or by a patient.
      • ‘On a recent visit, in the hallway outside an M.R.I. room, a patient milled around in a light blue paper gown.’
      • ‘After changing into a hospital gown, the patient lies on a cart or bed and covers his or her hair with a cap.’
      • ‘He or she gives the patient a hospital gown and sees that all clothing and jewelry is given to a family member or sent to a service center for safekeeping.’
      • ‘You will then be asked to remove all your clothes and put on a loose gown that ties at the back of your body.’
      • ‘I watched him leave and stripped out of the stupid white gowns they give in hospitals that leave you half naked at the back.’
      • ‘She was also greeted with the sight of an elderly male patient, clad only in carpet slippers and a very badly fastened theatre gown, clutching his fag in one hand and his mobile drip stand in the other.’
      • ‘Extra-large patient gowns and blood pressure cuffs require a small investment by the hospital and should be stocked routinely.’
      • ‘A nurse helped me get changed into a hospital gown, and get into the bed.’
      • ‘You will be in a hospital gown as zippers and snap fasteners can interfere with the scan.’
      • ‘I walked into the restroom and changed from the hospital gown into my normal clothes.’
      • ‘We prefer that you wear the hospital's gowns during the first two three days after surgery, as these open in the back, allowing us to change the bandages on your back.’
      • ‘The nurse or the assistant measures and documents the patient's vital signs and instructs the patient to change into a hospital gown.’
      • ‘Once she's changed into the hospital gown and settled in the bed, we're allowed to sit with her until it's time for the operation.’
      • ‘You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for the test.’
      • ‘In addition to equipment, assess the need for and obtain any special supplies, such as extra wound care dressings and special-sized gowns.’
      • ‘Cecil had been stripped, washed and put into a hospital gown.’
      • ‘When I got out side in my hospital gown it was freezing cold.’
      • ‘The doctor looked up from the child on the bed, now clothed in a hospital gown with an ID bracelet around her wrist.’
      • ‘Attendants must use masks, gloves, disposable gowns and eye protection.’
      • ‘Before the surgery, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown.’
    3. 1.3 A loose cloak indicating one's profession or status, worn by a lawyer, teacher, academic, or college student.
      • ‘Just as importantly, a jury forms a reassuring lay tribunal between the polished professionals in their gowns and wigs and the common man or woman.’
      • ‘There was another picture of Frank in his uniform and one of Evelyn in her cap and gown from high school.’
      • ‘A large crowd of proud family members and friends turned up to see the children, dressed in gowns and mortar boards, received their certificates of Achievement the afternoon ceremony.’
      • ‘Now, do you remember your graduation, walking down the aisle, wearing your cap and gown?’
      • ‘The priest rose, straightening his filthy gown.’
      • ‘The judge Mr Justice Hooper and lawyers have dispensed with their wigs and gowns for the trial which is expected to last three months.’
      • ‘Only the scholar's gown suggested the high academic ability which was to bring her great distinction.’
      • ‘He was capped and dressed in a long gown, red shoes, and a red silk sash with a silk ball on his chest.’
      • ‘I've a formal dinner on Wednesday requiring black tie and academic gown.’
      • ‘We lived in Graduate College and we ate together, particularly dinner at Procter Hall where academic gowns were required attire.’
      • ‘Although the wearing of academic dress was not compulsory, many senior university figures turned up with their scholars' gowns flowing and mortarboards on their heads.’
      • ‘In his navy blue graduation gown he looked so wise that I had to smile when I looked up at him from my seat.’
      • ‘The caps, gowns, and diplomas may look the same, but the groves of academe have changed radically over the past quarter century.’
      • ‘I bumped into some of my friends at Uni whilst collecting my gown and that helped me relax, which was necessary.’
      • ‘The gown turned out to be an academic gown, not a legal one.’
      • ‘On one hand, the magnificent building, evocative organ music, and procession of staff and students in their gowns gave the ceremony a certain meaning and significance.’
      • ‘They will all don caps and gowns for the ceremonies in the Great Hall of the University's Richmond Building.’
      • ‘And, to ensure equitable treatment of both pupils and staff, teachers should surely be banned from wearing hoods on their academic gowns on speech day.’
      • ‘The teachers wore their academic gowns at all times and went swishing along the corridors between classes.’
      • ‘The unusual tag on the back of lawyers' gowns is an atrophied remnant of a pouch for food - a sort of legal culinary appendix.’
    4. 1.4 The members of a college as distinct from the permanent residents of the college town.
      ‘efforts are underway to improve town-gown relations’
      Often contrasted with town
      • ‘But controversial plans to erect wind turbines across St Andrews have reignited the animosity between town and gown.’
      • ‘It has taken this further with its detailed submission as to how a campus at York Central would be good for town and gown.’
      • ‘The new student union president has set a target of creating town and gown harmony and is keen to work closely with council.’
      • ‘It is often said that town and gown, city and university, are indeed far away from each other, despite their proximity on the crow-flying map of York.’
      • ‘The result is a city formed by the very rich and the very poor - and nowhere is the gap between town and gown more profound.’
      • ‘Seeking to apply his theories, Geddes decided that town and gown in Edinburgh lived too far apart, so pioneered a plan to bring them together.’
      • ‘In both Oxford and Cambridge, gown dominates the town.’


be gowned
  • Be dressed in a gown.

    ‘she was gowned in luminous silk’
    • ‘Please, take this young woman and see that she is bathed in the finest perfume, and gowned, jeweled, and crowned.’
    • ‘For formal events the guys must be in a black suit or tux, the women must be gowned.’
    • ‘Today, she was still gowned in white, much like Amelea, but this dress's collar went up to her chin.’
    • ‘The faculty was splendid in their academic regalia, students all gowned with their mortar and tassel led by a marshal carrying the college's mace.’
    • ‘Bligh and Madeleine watched for a while, then as the crowd thinned they approached a gowned priest and asked him what was happening.’
    • ‘In a colourful ceremony the scholars, who were robed and gowned in full academic dress, were presented with their award by the president in front of the deans, doctors and dons of the college.’
    • ‘Through the crowd I could see a small, gowned body making its way toward us.’
    • ‘I came to court this morning on a civil matter that would not require me to be gowned.’
    • ‘After everyone had already been seated, including the king, I walked slowly, gracefully into the grand hall, gowned brilliantly in gold cloth.’


Middle English: from Old French goune, from late Latin gunna ‘fur garment’; probably related to Byzantine Greek gouna ‘fur, fur-lined garment’.