Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective \ˈprōn\

Simple Definition of prone

  • : likely to do, have, or suffer from something

  • : lying with the front of your body facing downward

Full Definition of prone

  1. 1 :  having a tendency or inclination :  being likely <prone to forget names> <accident-prone>

  2. 2 a :  having the front or ventral surface downward b :  lying flat or prostrate

prone adverb
prone·ly adverb
prone·ness play \ˈprōn-nəs\ noun

Examples of prone

  1. Hull then corralled the rebound and shoveled the puck past the left arm and leg of the prone Hasek with his forehand, touching off a wild on-ice celebration. —Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 28 June 1999

  2. I too have been prone on my couch this week, a victim of the common cold. —Flannery O'Connor, letter, 20 Mar. 1961

  3. My almond tree lies prone across the court, blown down by a gale. —Conrad Aiken, letter, 3 Oct. 1930

  4. <he was prone to emotional outbursts under stress>

  5. <quickly subdue the suspect and get him into a prone position>

Origin of prone

Middle English, from Latin pronus bent forward, tending; akin to Latin pro forward — more at for

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of prone

prone, supine, prostrate, recumbent mean lying down. prone implies a position with the front of the body turned toward the supporting surface <push-ups require a prone position>. supine implies lying on one's back and suggests inertness or abjectness <lying supine on the couch>. prostrate implies lying full-length as in submission, defeat, or physical collapse <a runner fell prostrate at the finish line>. recumbent implies the posture of one sleeping or resting <a patient comfortably recumbent in a hospital bed>.

synonyms see in addition liable

Medical Dictionary


adjective \ˈprōn\

Medical Definition of prone

  1. :  having the front or ventral surface downward; especially :  lying facedown

  2. prone adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez duvet kittly-benders spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.