pro·​long | \ prə-ˈlȯŋ \
prolonged; prolonging; prolongs

Definition of prolong

transitive verb

1 : to lengthen in time : continue
2 : to lengthen in extent, scope, or range

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Other Words from prolong

prolongation \ (ˌ)prō-​ˌlȯŋ-​ˈgā-​shən , prə-​ \ noun
prolonger \ prə-​ˈlȯŋ-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for prolong

extend, lengthen, prolong, protract mean to draw out or add to so as to increase in length. extend and lengthen imply a drawing out in space or time but extend may also imply increase in width, scope, area, or range. extend a vacation extend welfare services lengthen a skirt lengthen the workweek prolong suggests chiefly increase in duration especially beyond usual limits. prolonged illness protract adds to prolong implications of needlessness, vexation, or indefiniteness. protracted litigation

Examples of prolong in a Sentence

Additives are used to prolong the shelf life of packaged food. High interest rates were prolonging the recession.

Recent Examples on the Web

Then again, Democrats may want to prolong premium pain so Republicans are blamed in the fall. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The GOP’s Clean Bills of Health Savings," 29 July 2018 Seoul and Washington describe the move as a temporary measure to prolong ongoing detente on the Korean Peninsula and increase the chances of successful nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. Fox News, "Halting S.Korea-US drills risks weakening N.Korea deterrence," 19 June 2018 Now that Ethiopia has satisfied Eritrea's demands, putting the ball firmly within Eritrea's court, the Eritrean regime cannot use these excuses to prolong the conflict and maintain the persistent repressions at home. Awol K. Allo, CNN, "Ethiopia's new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?," 7 June 2018 Companies like Tencent and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are pouring money into esports in the hopes of prolonging the lifespan of popular titles and growing the industry. Shan Li, WSJ, "‘Kind of Like the NBA’: Esports Mount Full-Court Press in China," 3 Nov. 2018 Some in Europe suspect that Trump is also trying to use the energy issue as a means of prolonging Europe’s dependence on the US – and perhaps even dominating it by aggravating divisions between Europe’s east and west. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "How strong a Europe does US want? In Trump era, that's still the issue.," 13 July 2018 Jeddah Meeting OPEC and its allies including Russia are scheduled to gather in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on April 20 to explore ways of prolonging their cooperation in their efforts to reduce a global glut. Alex Longley, Houston Chronicle, "Crude rises to highest since 2014," 18 Apr. 2018 The free trade movement, led by the United States, was in part a response to the Great Depression, in which economists blamed a global cycle of tariffs for prolonging the downturn. Benjy Sarlin, NBC News, "U.S. vs. the world: Here’s what a trade war looks like," 8 Mar. 2018 The Tide fell to Ole Miss, 78-66, as poor shooting and suspect defense foiled its bid at prolonging a winning streak. Rainer Sabin,, "Alabama falls to Ole Miss, snaps winning streak," 23 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prolong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prolong

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prolong

Middle English, from Middle French prolonguer, from Late Latin prolongare, from Latin pro- forward + longus long

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Statistics for prolong

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prolong

The first known use of prolong was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for prolong



English Language Learners Definition of prolong

: to make (something) last or continue for a longer time


pro·​long | \ prə-ˈlȯŋ \
prolonged; prolonging

Kids Definition of prolong

: to make longer than usual or expected Medicines prolonged his life.

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More from Merriam-Webster on prolong

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prolong

Spanish Central: Translation of prolong

Nglish: Translation of prolong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prolong for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prolong

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


excited commotion or publicity

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