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1. A prostitute. The phrase derives from the blue gowns that convicted prostitutes once had to wear in houses of correction. Those poor blue gowns will have nowhere to turn when they're released, and most likely will end up here again.
2. A licensed beggar in Scotland (who traditionally wore a blue gown). If you don't take this job, you're going to end up a blue gown, begging on the streets!
cap and gown
the academic cap or mortarboard and the robe worn in formal academic ceremonies. We all had to rent cap and gown for graduation. I appeared wearing my cap and gown, but I had shorts on underneath because it gets so hot at that time of year.
the relations between a town and the university located within the town; the relations between university students and the nonstudents who live in a university town. (Usually in reference to a disagreement. Fixed order.) There is another town-and-gown dispute in Adamsville over the amount the university costs the city for police services. There was more town-and-gown strife reported at Larry's Bar and Grill last Saturday night.
cap and gown
Ceremonial dress worn at graduation exercises; by extension, the academic community (also see town and gown. For example, Mary was very proud) when she received her cap and gown for commencement. [Mid-1800s]
town and gown
The inhabitants of a college or university town and the students and personnel of the college, as in There used to be friction between town and gown but the new parking lots have eased it . The gown in this expression alludes to the academic robes traditional in British universities. [Early 1800s]
Relations between a college and the municipality in which it is located. Students at British universities and boarding schools were fond of playing pranks on the inhabitants of the cities and towns where the schools were. However, not all the “pranks” were pranks: drunken carousing, theft, arson, and other crimes were done under the guise of boyish high spirits. These uneasy relations between town and “gown” (students wore academic robes, as in “cap and gown”) happened in this country too, and there are still times when a mayor and a college dean meet to try and smooth ruffled feathers.