Definition of robe in US English:



  • 1A long, loose outer garment.

    • ‘As nomads crossing the desert wear white robes to reflect the sun's rays, trees wearing the specially processed kaolin coat reflect the heat-producing infrared wavelengths, as well as the burning ultraviolet rays.’
    • ‘Five middle-aged businessmen in a desert landscape politely stand before a Middle Eastern man wearing a turban and robe.’
    • ‘The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come wears a long black robe with a hood that conceals its head.’
    • ‘The duke touches the arm of a bearded man in Eastern headdress and brocade robe.’
    • ‘"He was dressed in an unusually large robe with a hood over his head.’
    • ‘A woman in a white flowing robe walks through an Egyptian temple as a hawk swoops over her shoulder.’
    • ‘A solid figure steps out nobly, his robe flapping around him in the wind like a cape.’
    • ‘He changed quite a few cloaks before donning the saffron robe.’
    • ‘She wears a long robe patterned with star and sky symbols fringed with delicate pearls.’
    • ‘Aidis floated backwards as he descended to the stage, his robe billowing dramatically.’
    • ‘A boy behind him sews his robe to the prayer mat so that when the meditation is over and he stands up, the mat stands up with him.’
    • ‘She had on a long, black silk robe, and small black slippers.’
    • ‘She wore a black dress that looked like a robe with no sleeves.’
    • ‘She curled up against the cement wall, pulling the robe closer around her.’
    • ‘The selection of textiles range from a fragment of printed cotton purchased at a flea market to Parisian couture gowns, African wall hangings and Turkish robes.’
    • ‘Her silver robe swished softly, the only noise to be heard.’
    • ‘Kayama, who has played a crucial role in the events, kneels at his low writing table in his Japanese robes and sings tentatively.’
    • ‘He pulled a white hooded robe on and threw the cowl over his face, obscuring his features entirely.’
    • ‘Sometimes they played the proud Bambara hunter in patterned brown and black mud-cloth robes.’
    • ‘The killer appeared to be wearing a dark, black hooded robe.’
    cloak, wrap, mantle, cape, kaftan
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    1. 1.1often robes A long, loose garment worn on formal or ceremonial occasions as an indication of the wearer's office or profession.
      • ‘Finally, the King was led behind the altar into St Edward's chapel to be clothed in purple robes and given the Imperial Crown, Orb and Sceptre.’
      • ‘He notices an older man nearby dressed in monk's robes, sleeping.’
      • ‘Whereas Erasmus wears the black robes of an academic, the archbishop dresses in priestly white.’
      • ‘Kel retorted, shivering as she pulled the heavy black cloak over her mage's robe.’
      • ‘Yesterday controversial councillor donned his robes of office and was sworn in as Hull's Lord Mayor.’
      • ‘The presence of several government officials on the upper floor, marked by their red robes and ‘hats with two horizontal legs,’ seems to underline the wine shop's official status.’
      • ‘A seated Buddha carved of sandstone in Cave 8 at Yungang also has rounded forms of head and body, similarly wrapped in the monk's robe.’
      • ‘She designed the clothes, which range from suave street garb to ceremonial robes.’
      • ‘The woman at the door wore her mage's robe over a nightshirt and boots.’
      • ‘King Ryan sat down slowly, his robes fluttering about him.’
      • ‘Several, especially the larger ones, are shaped like crosses or vestment robes.’
      • ‘He wears his red robes of office as Judge of the King's Bench.’
      • ‘His priest's robes billowed out behind him as he walked over to her.’
      garb, regalia, costume, livery, finery, trappings
      vestment, surplice, cassock, rochet, alb, dalmatic, chasuble
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    2. 1.2 A dressing gown or bathrobe.
      • ‘Shocked, she stops, gathers her robe and advances just a bit, to be framed perfectly in the doorway.’
      • ‘I would have wrapped my warm, terry cloth robe about me, but it wasn't in the bathroom.’
      • ‘Jeffrey quickly hides inside a closet, from which he observes Dorothy disrobe and then reach for a blue velvet robe inside the closet as he recoils in fear of discovery.’
      • ‘She fumbled clumsily, ending up draping her robe over her shoulders.’
      • ‘Allison tied the robe around her body and opened her bathroom door let the steam out.’
      • ‘I slowly got out of bed and threw a robe over my nightgown.’
      • ‘She wrapped a red silk robe around herself and tied it.’
      • ‘She carefully got out wiping her smooth legs dry then putting on the terry cotton robe to answer the door.’
      • ‘She sits around all day in a shabby robe, dwelling on the past, a time when she used to be ‘so pretty and popular.’’
      • ‘She put on her night robe over her nightgown before grabbing her crutches.’
      • ‘This work, depicting a woman in a long robe sitting on a red chaise, could have been done by a star Matisse acolyte.’
      • ‘He had gotten up and was tying the belt of his robe around his waist.’
      • ‘She looked to her changing screen, where her robe was hanging neatly.’
      • ‘With that he turned and walked back into his house, the ties on his robe trailing behind him.’
      • ‘She swung around, tying the robe around her waist, giving him a glare.’
      • ‘With a sigh, Celly tugged her robe tighter before following wonderful smells that led her into the kitchen.’
      • ‘She slipped on a thin robe over her nightgown silently and tiptoed her way to the door.’
      • ‘She quickly grabbed a nearby towel and threw on her terry cloth robe.’
      • ‘Wearing a robe, he stumbles out of bed and opens the drapes and shades, gazing down lovingly upon the housekeeper putting Serge's midday snack into his backpack.’
      dressing gown, bathrobe, housecoat, negligee, kimono
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  • 2North American dated A small blanket; lap robe.


[with object]usually as adjective robed
  • 1Clothe in a long, loose outer garment.

    ‘a circle of robed figures’
    in combination ‘a white-robed Bedouin’
    • ‘Until we came across this red robed magician, we didn't even know about real magic.’
    • ‘He is robed in black and white, although the background and lighting are red.’
    • ‘Instead of being robed in the skin of a lion or a leopard that is customary for African royalty, he is clad in a cape made from the skin of some wild animal.’
    • ‘The roundels in the center show a doge kneeling before an enthroned Saint Mark and a seated, robed figure with the right hand raised, presumably in blessing.’
    • ‘A huge chariot approaches carrying a veiled nymph draped in a gross of silver veils sitting upon a throne with a black robed, and veiled figure beside her.’
    • ‘The robed and turbaned figures moving slowly across a sepia ground on the first screen are drawn from an 1895 film.’
    • ‘A robed figure seated in a cart drawn by a tiger and a leopard follows two foot soldiers.’
    • ‘Before you went into a trance, you told us that those robed figures were coming.’
    • ‘At the back of the church were a robed choir and musicians making a quartet of stringed instruments.’
    • ‘Simeon directs his song of praise to an elevated, imposing high priest in a scene dominated by an even more imposing crowned, splendidly robed temple guardian.’
    • ‘The viewer has his eye drawn through the openings of the screens to the end wall on the far side, with several stately blue robed woman gazing through.’
    • ‘At the left, they face a robed figure who has entered the shop to pawn an article of clothing.’
    • ‘On the balcony, a woman kneels and draws a picture while a robed, spectral figure nearby seems to be ladling water into another tank.’
    • ‘The red robed magician had appeared out of thin air, with the albino in tow.’
    • ‘To begin with, he is robed in loose but complicated fabrics that obscure all sense of human fragility.’
    • ‘They are robed in ermine-trimmed royal red, as in Snow White.’
    • ‘He tells them to sit and when he takes off his cloak they see that he is robed in white.’
    • ‘In one of the untitled drawings, a characteristically inverted robed figure, skirts ornamented with ink arabesques, topped with a hat, recalls the painted fables of Chagall.’
    1. 1.1no object Put on robes, especially for a formal or ceremonial occasion.
      ‘I went into the vestry and robed for the Mass’
      dress oneself, dress, get dressed, attire oneself, enrobe
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Middle English: from Old French, from the Germanic base (in the sense ‘booty’) of rob (because clothing was an important component of booty).