GOWN, properly the term for a loose outer garment formerly worn by either sex but now generally for that worn by women. While " dress " is the usual English word, except in such combinations as " tea-gown," " dressing-gown " and the like, where the original loose flowing nature of the " gown " is referred to, " gown " is the common American word. " Gown " comes from the O. Fr. goune or gonne. The word appears in various Romanic languages, cf. Ital. gonna. The medieval Lat. gunna is used of a garment of skin or fur. A Celtic origin has been usually adopted, but the Irish, Gaelic and Manx words are taken from the English. Outside the ordinary use of the word, " gown " is the name for the distinctive robes worn by holders of particular offices or by members of particular professions or of universities, etc. (see ROBES).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)