Main definitions of prop in US English:

: prop1prop2prop3

prop1

noun

  • 1A pole or beam used as a support or to keep something in position, typically one that is not an integral part of the thing supported.

    ‘300 tubular steel props’
    • ‘Creating an intense heat and light that at once attracts and repels, the hand leans backwards, resting on a prop not unlike the beams used to construct roofs of houses.’
    • ‘The entire structure is supported with conventional props and crossbeams.’
    • ‘I've still got the props up supporting the house.’
    • ‘You can paint the prop if you like, but copper-based paint won't stay on a bronze prop (nor bronze rudders and struts) for long.’
    pole, post, beam, support, upright, brace, buttress, stay, shaft, strut, stanchion, shore, pier, vertical, pillar, pile, piling, bolster, truss, column, rod, stick
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person or thing that is a major source of support or assistance.
      ‘the second institutional prop of conservative Spain was the army’
      • ‘A great pity, then, but these unique beers certainly don't need the organic prop to help them stand securely in the marketplace.’
      • ‘In a research note, HSBC said a slowing housing market will remove a major prop to consumer spending and weaken the economy.’
      • ‘Tobacco was a useful prop, and it helped to prevent his opponents from watching him too closely, as if he could literally hide his thoughts behind a cloud of smoke.’
      • ‘The doctrines of the Church of England in which she was educated provided an important political and emotional prop for the rest of her life.’
      • ‘Surging exports to the US have been the main prop of Japan's economic recovery.’
      • ‘Liquor was a major prop of the colonial government, which consciously fashioned customs duties to extract the maximum revenue from the trade.’
      • ‘It is a prop to assist very different party philosophies to stay together.’
      • ‘Then we see that the emotional state was just a prop to which we're addicted in order to confirm our identity, to hold us together.’
      • ‘One of the things that becomes very clear from talking to Lauren is that she sees her independence and her non-reliance on external props as a major strength.’
      • ‘A major prop for the dollar has long been the simple fact that oil is priced in dollars.’
      • ‘Labour has been the main political prop of Norwegian capitalism throughout most of the twentieth century.’
      • ‘Instead, it has itself assumed the role of a prop.’
      mainstay, pillar, anchor, rock, backbone, support, cornerstone
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Grammar A word used to fill a syntactic role without any specific meaning of its own, for example one in it's a nice one and it in it is raining.

verb

[with object]
  • 1Position something underneath (someone or something) for support.

    ‘she propped her chin in the palm of her right hand’
    • ‘He returned to his seat and sighed, propping his chin on his fist.’
    • ‘I had forced myself to a half-sitting position, propping myself on my un-injured arm, when the pieces clicked.’
    • ‘He leaned forward and propped his chin in his slender hands.’
    • ‘Readjusting his position, he propped himself against the log, his whole body relaxing.’
    • ‘Tristan leaned back and stretched his legs out so they were propped on the chair in front of him.’
    • ‘Cal leaned forward and propped both elbows on the bed.’
    • ‘Jake looked up, propping himself up with his elbows.’
    • ‘Vicki shook her head and rested her chin on her hands, which were propped on her knees.’
    • ‘Others huddle on or against driftwood with notebooks propped on their knees.’
    • ‘On the far side, where a tall window overlooked the garden, an old woman lay in bed, propped by pillows to a half-sitting position.’
    • ‘She heard footsteps running towards her and felt arms prop her up.’
    • ‘The patient should use pillows, rolled towels, blankets, or large pieces of foam to prop his or her body into the prescribed head position for sleeping.’
    • ‘I helped using my left hand while propping myself with my right.’
    • ‘She looks at her feet, now propped on the stool next to her.’
    • ‘Diane leaned over her desk, propping her chin on her fist.’
    • ‘She had her elbows propped on her elbows and her chin in her hand.’
    • ‘Ling Yi propped her chin on the desk, staring longingly at the phone.’
    • ‘I lean against the door frame, casually propping myself up.’
    • ‘Her back failed to support her even propped by overstuffed cushions and she slumped, weakness overtaking her.’
    • ‘Katlyn opened her eyes and sat up, her arms propping her up from behind.’
    hold up, shore up, bolster up, buttress, support, brace, underpin, reinforce, strengthen
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Position (something or someone) more or less upright by leaning it against something else.
      ‘a jug of milk with a note propped against it’
      ‘she propped the picture up on the mantlepiece’
      • ‘Vice propped his bass on the stand and sprinted to the house next door.’
      • ‘He leaned back on one foot and propped his bayonet against the wall.’
      • ‘She pulled Kaitlin's gaunt body into a sitting position and propped her against the headboard.’
      • ‘She came back to reality to find herself propped against a tree.’
      • ‘Lia leaned back against the sofa, her legs casually propped on the table.’
      • ‘Her feet were propped up on the table and she was looking at some papers in her hands.’
      • ‘She propped the note on the night stand next to Russell's side of the mattress and returned to the door to gaze out.’
      • ‘As she took a step forward, her hand hit the picture frame she had propped on her desk.’
      • ‘There were old bales of hay propped in odd corners of the property, covered in snow.’
      • ‘Eva pulled Anthony into a sitting position and propped him against the wall.’
      • ‘A book was propped on his knee, and his face was in shadow.’
      • ‘His right foot was propped up against the wall, and his hands were in his pockets.’
      lean, rest, set, stand, position, place, lay, balance, steady
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Use an object to keep (something) in position.
      ‘he found that the door to the office was propped open’
      • ‘At the end of the corridor, they approached a huge double door made of glass that was propped open.’
      • ‘He forced himself to remain impassive and calm, though his eyelids looked like they were being propped open by toothpicks.’
      • ‘The windows of the classroom were open, blinds drawn, and the door was propped open.’
      • ‘The front door was propped open with a stone, and above the doorway was a sign depicting an artist's easel.’
      • ‘I raised the hood, propped it and leaned in over the fender.’
      • ‘It was propped open, revealing a slice of tiled floor and fluorescent light.’
      • ‘Sanura's door was propped open, as it always was, so Rebecca went straight to the illuminated room.’
      • ‘Any office cooled to a temperature lower than 25C or any shop that leaves its door propped open could be fined.’
      • ‘The outer door was propped open, the storm door the only one keeping the bugs from entering the house.’
      • ‘Clean out the refrigerator and leave it and all lockers and drawers propped open.’
      • ‘We are going to be among the many who will gladly take the extra refuse to the council offices, to prevent cats, foxes and stray dogs attacking bags which are propping our bin lids open.’
      • ‘In a ground floor flat in Belsize Park, I stowed my guitars in the cupboard and instead began propping the door open with the Oxford Handbook of Criminology.’
      • ‘The ‘guest’ chair, replete with cat, is propping my door wide open to allow the cat to vacate the premises when it so desires.’
      • ‘One police car is double-parked out front, and the door of the row house is propped open.’
      • ‘Sighing gratefully, she saw that they were propped open to let in more light and the soft smells of spring air.’
      • ‘The vine-trellis has collapsed and has been clumsily propped up.’
      • ‘I sat down with my back to the wall next to the door that was propped open.’
      • ‘They keep propping the wooden door open for no apparent reason - it's not like the storm door lets any air in.’
      • ‘Needless to say, I made a hasty retreat, kicking aside the wedge propping my kitchen door open so it slammed shut, keeping the rodent hopefully contained in one room.’
      • ‘The double doors to the entrance were propped open, and a few people milled around on the first floor.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • prop someone/something up

    • Provide support or assistance for someone or something that would otherwise fail or decline.

      ‘foreign aid tends to prop up incompetent governments’
      • ‘Standard Life is a pillar on which a lot of financial Scotland is propped up.’
      • ‘First it was a Portuguese colony, then, after independence, its Soviet-style government was propped up by Moscow and Havana and destabilised by South Africa and the United States.’
      • ‘For example, if one currency suffers a sudden and unexpected fall, the other central banks will normally move to prop it up.’
      • ‘They had been propping the Tories up and have now decided to chuck them away.’
      • ‘People coming through the gates isn't enough to prop a club up.’
      • ‘We couldn't give money just to prop it up for a few months,’ said Wilson.’
      • ‘It is pretty obvious that the present government is propped up by Scots.’
      • ‘The ‘bottom line’, as one American economist sagely noted, is that consumers have probably been propping the economy up for some time.’
      • ‘Investing in heritage means enhancing it, not just propping it up.’
      • ‘Mobutu, Marcos, Suharto and other notorious dictators were propped up by massive loans.’
      subsidize, underwrite, fund, finance, maintain
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: probably from Middle Dutch proppe ‘support (for vines)’.

Pronunciation

prop

/präp//prɑp/

Main definitions of prop in US English:

: prop1prop2prop3

prop2

noun

usually props
  • A portable object other than furniture or costumes used on the set of a play or movie.

    • ‘The curtains may have shut, but no one switched you off and packed you up with props and costumes in a musty room.’
    • ‘He is assisted by a set decorator, who actually builds the props.’
    • ‘Her ensuing characters are deftly created without props or costumes.’
    • ‘It involved actors and local children who had attended workshops beforehand to produce props and costumes.’
    • ‘He could not occupy the drawer space because it was filled with the props.’
    • ‘The group started to do ‘community cabarets,’ using costumes and props, scripts, and themes.’
    • ‘Before recording, have your props and costumes organized and tape log sheets prepared.’
    • ‘The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.’
    • ‘Anita's visual interpretation using excellent lights, costumes and props makes this production an enriching experience.’
    • ‘The use of candles is clever, with them used as both a prop and a lighting source.’
    • ‘The cast double as stage hands, choreographed to slide props around the stage when they are not speaking or move chairs to imitate the steps of an elephant.’
    • ‘Then they reach deeper into their bag of tricks for ever bigger props and effects.’
    • ‘Instead, he hires models and sets up a scene with props and costumes, and then photographs them.’
    • ‘O'Neil handled props on this film and went on to helm a few others.’
    • ‘We also had provided them with disguise materials and props that would help fill out their roles.’
    • ‘The set, lighting, costumes and props - along with a kooky, swinging Vegas-style soundscape - are outstanding.’
    • ‘Sitters could not only choose their pose, but also select from a variety of costumes, backdrops and props to create a fantasy setting and transform themselves into the figure of their imaginations.’
    • ‘It looks like a prop from the last Flinstones movie.’
    • ‘At this point the story becomes truly curious - more than a morality tale with sparkling costumes and inventive props.’
    • ‘The pair's ambition is to make their living producing scenery, costumes and props for museums, theatres, themed bars, film and television.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: abbreviation of property.

Pronunciation

prop

/präp//prɑp/

Main definitions of prop in US English:

: prop1prop2prop3

prop3

noun

informal
  • An aircraft propeller.

    • ‘Soon black smoke poured from its exhaust and the prop was feathered to try and save the engine, but it was too late.’
    • ‘The high friction then caused the weakened propeller shaft to break and the prop tore away taking the shaft with it.’
    • ‘So there you are, rolling along the runway at full throttle, but the prop can't provide sufficient thrust as it bites into the reduced air density.’
    • ‘‘Shiney’ didn't have time to kill the engine before the prop bit the ground, forcing the tail of the Hurricane skywards.’
    • ‘Once again, the prop is used to rotate the engine and make sure that those points open and close at the correct timing marks on the crankshaft.’
    • ‘We were too late trying to feather the prop - all the oil was gone.’
    • ‘Soon friction heat started to melt the prop's magnesium housing as the prop's gear shaft ground away at the housing.’
    • ‘I told the flight engineer about the prop and called for an emergency shutdown of No.3.’
    • ‘The aircraft was heavily damaged with the prop destroyed and one wing mangled.’
    • ‘This time, immediately after takeoff, the right prop governor failed and the prop feathered.’
    • ‘The engine went to Sam Thompson, the prop to California Propeller and parts to other contractors.’
    • ‘Fortunately, there was a heated hangar and the new prop was hung in about an hour.’
    • ‘As my speed carried me over him his prop sliced through my undercarriage, slashing the fuselage.’
    • ‘With an engine failure, the prop couldn't be feathered.’
    • ‘The No.3 engine had a prop replaced a week prior, and flight deck indicator lights now point out a malfunction.’
    • ‘Your mechanic should check the prop for nicks, chips and overall condition.’
    • ‘Most of the aircraft have no logbooks, have run-out engines and props, and need a lot of work.’
    • ‘In a turboprop aircraft, putting the props in the beta position creates an extraordinary speed brake.’
    • ‘The left prop stayed on but dropped off when the aircraft was picked up, I think.’
    • ‘I was walking across a dark, busy flight deck and was heading toward turning props and moving aircraft.’

Origin

Early 20th century: abbreviation.

Pronunciation

prop

/präp//prɑp/