prostrate, prone, supine


prostrate, prone, supine
These words are interchangeable in the sense of "lying flat," "level with the ground or other surface." They differ, however, in certain literal and figurative applications. Prostrate means "reduced to weakness," "helpless," "exhausted," "overcome": "The exhausted hikers sprawled prostrate by the stream." "That stretch of countryside was left prostrate by enemy shelling." Prone indicates a face-down position, not solely a horizontal one. A supine position is one in which a person lies face upward. Prone also has a common meaning of "inclined toward," "having a natural tendency or disposition": "This worker is accident-prone." Supine has the additional meanings of "passive," "indifferent," "inactive": "Jailed persons tend to become supine after a long stay in prison."

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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  • prone, prostrate, recumbent, supine —    Supine means lying face upward (it may help to remember that a supine person is on her spine). Prone and prostrate are regarded by most dictionaries and usage authorities, but by no means all, as meaning lying face downward. (A few say that… …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • prostrate — *prone, supine, recumbent, couchant, dormant Analogous words: flat, *level: abject (see MEAN) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • supine — See prostrate. See prostrate, prone, supine …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • prone — See prostrate. See prostrate, prone, supine …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • prostrate — See prostrate, prone, supine …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • prone — 1 subject, exposed, open, iiable, susceptible, sensitive Analogous words: inclined, predisposed, disposed (see INCLINE vb): addicted, habituated, accustomed (see HABITUATE) 2 Prone, supine, prostrate, recumbent, couchant, dormant are comparable… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • prone —  , prostrate, recumbent, supine.  Supine means lying faceup (it may help to remember that a supine person is on his spine). Prone and prostrate are regarded by most dictionaries and usage authorities but by no means all as meaning lying facedown …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • supine — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. recumbent, reclining, prostrate; apathetic, sluggish, torpid; indifferent, passive. See inactivity, insensibility, horizontal.Ant., standing, upright, energetic. II (Roget s IV) modif. 1. [Lying on… …   English dictionary for students

  • prone — adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Latin pronus bent forward, tending; akin to Latin pro forward more at for Date: 14th century 1. having a tendency or inclination ; being likely < prone to forget names > < accident prone > 2. a. having… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • prone — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. inclined, disposed, likely, predisposed; recumbent, flat, prostrate, horizontal. See possibility. II (Roget s IV) modif. 1. [Inclined] Syn. inclined, predisposed, apt; see likely 4 . 2. [Lying down] …   English dictionary for students


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