A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment. A robe is distinguished from a cape or cloak by the fact that it usually has sleeves.
The English word robe derives from Middle English robe (“garment”), borrowed from Old French robe (“booty, spoils”), itself taken from the Frankish word *rouba (“spoils, things stolen, clothes”), and is related to the word rob. There are various types of robes, including:
- A gown worn as part of the academic regalia of faculty or students, especially for ceremonial occasions, such as a convocations, congregations or graduations.
- A gown worn as part of the attire of a judge or barrister.
- A wide variety of long, flowing religious dress including pulpit robes and the robes worn by various types of monks.
- A gown worn as part of the official dress of a peer or royalty.
- Any of several women’s fashions, as robe d’anglaise (18th century), “robe de style” (1920s).
- A gown worn in fantasy literature and role-playing games by wizards and other magical characters.
- An absorbent “bath robe” worn mostly after washing or swimming.
- One such example is a bathrobe, a garment made of terrycloth or another towel-like material and is typically worn at home after a bath or other activities where the wearer is nude to keep warm and/or preserve modesty in times of no immediate need to fully dress. (Also called a house coat.) See, for example, that worn by the fictional character Arthur Dent.
- (Informal usage) Any long flowing garment; for example, a cassock is sometimes called a robe, despite the fact that the cassock is close-fitting.