prone

adjective
\ ˈprōn How to pronounce prone (audio) \

Definition of prone

1 : having a tendency or inclination : being likely prone to forget names accident-prone
2a : having the front or ventral surface downward
b : lying flat or prostrate

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Other Words from prone

prone adverb
pronely adverb
proneness \ ˈprōn-​nəs How to pronounce proneness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for prone

Synonyms

apt, given, inclined, tending

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

The Difference Between Prone, Supine, and Prostrate

In literal use, prone and supine indicate contrasting positions of the body: a person lying prone is facing downward while a person lying supine is face up.

Both prone and supine also have meanings that have nothing to do with physical position. Supine, in keeping with the image of one lying comfortably idle, can be applied to those who are willing to be controlled by others, or who show mental or moral slackness, as in "supine obedience" or "supine inaction."

Prone is used in the sense of "having a tendency or inclination," as in "prone to worry" or "accident-prone." This usage is similar to such words as apt, liable, or likely (as in "apt to be late"), but in many instances prone implies a vulnerability to attack or damaging influence, in keeping with the image of one lying face down and unable to see what is approaching.

The word prostrate too has meanings to do with body position. It is used with the very specific meaning of "stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission," but is also used simply to mean "lying flat." In figurative use, prostrate means "completely overcome and lacking vitality, will, or power to rise," as in "prostrate in fear."

So while prone, supine, and prostrate have specific meanings with regard to body position, they also come with situational connotations in many cases: prone suggests exposure or vulnerability; supine connotes a position of weakness or passivity; and prostrate implies submission in the face of being overcome.

Examples of prone in a Sentence

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 I too have been prone on my couch this week, a victim of the common cold. — Flannery O'Connor, letter, 20 Mar. 1961 My almond tree lies prone across the court, blown down by a gale. — Conrad Aiken, letter, 3 Oct. 1930 he was prone to emotional outbursts under stress quickly subdue the suspect and get him into a prone position
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Recent Examples on the Web

Lots of ice The majority of the South Pole's ice is in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which has a structure that could leave it prone to instability. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Major Antarctic ice sheet shrank when it wasn’t much warmer than now," 20 Sep. 2018 On Saturday, former NTSB chairman James Hall said the design of duck boats makes them prone to the type of accident that occurred in Missouri, particularly when weather turns bad. Heather Hollingsworth, The Seattle Times, "Duck boat probe will check if Coast Guard rules were ignored," 24 July 2018 Officers then tie up Casado's legs before hauling him again into a car and putting him prone across the back seat. Charles Rabin, miamiherald, "Miami man sues after wild tussle with cops. Much of it was caught on body cam video.," 27 June 2018 The otherworldly landscape is the result of uplift that left it prone to erosion when the sea receded some 10 million years ago. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018 This is obviously an objectively worse Cavaliers team, with a supporting cast around LeBron James that would appear prone to a sweep at the hands of the almighty juggernaut Warriors that postseason allegory has created. The Crossover Staff, SI.com, "2018 NBA Finals: Warriors-Cavs IV Picks, Random Predictions and More," 31 May 2018 Some of India’s media have venal inclinations, making them prone to bribery by those who want to use them to get their message across. The Economist, "People in India often despair of their democracy," 31 May 2018 The blight infects leaves, causing them to curl, and ultimately weakens the large trees and makes them prone to die. Vikki Ortiz, chicagotribune.com, "Thanks to rainy spring, 4 tree diseases expected across Chicagoland this summer," 23 May 2018 When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through and affect humans, making them prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases. James Griffiths, CNN, "Ozone-destroying emissions are on the rise and scientists don't know why," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prone.' 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 prone

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prone

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

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Statistics for prone

Last Updated

25 May 2019

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Time Traveler for prone

The first known use of prone was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for prone

prone

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prone

: likely to do, have, or suffer from something
: lying with the front of your body facing downward

prone

adjective
\ ˈprōn How to pronounce prone (audio) \

Kids Definition of prone

1 : likely to be or act a certain way Her dog is prone to laziness.
2 : lying with the front of the body facing downward

prone

adjective
\ ˈprōn How to pronounce prone (audio) \

Medical Definition of prone

: having the front or ventral surface downward especially : lying facedown

Other Words from prone

prone adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on prone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prone

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prone

Spanish Central: Translation of prone

Nglish: Translation of prone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prone for Arabic Speakers

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