prone

adjective
\ ˈprōn \

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 \ 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

Glaciers sitting atop briny water can be more prone to sliding off the land and into the ocean, potentially contributing to rising sea levels. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "Climate’s Big Unknown: What’s Happening Beneath Antarctica’s Ice?," 29 Dec. 2018 Epithelial ovarian cancer is more prone to spreading, so surgery often involves removing both ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "11 Things to Know After Receiving an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis," 14 Dec. 2018 Nebraska is part of a growing push by states to replace old vote-counting equipment that has become more prone to breakdowns and glitches. Grant Schulte, The Seattle Times, "Outdated voting machines spark election worries in Nebraska," 21 Nov. 2018 Aerobic bacteria, those that need oxygen to live, were much more prone to horizontal transmission and much less dependent on vertical. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Mammals inherit most of their gut bacteria, new study suggests," 26 Oct. 2018 French bulldogs are more prone to respiratory problems as they are classified as short-nosed dogs, or brachycephalic. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "JetBlue crew saves French bulldog with oxygen mask during flight," 8 July 2018 Mazurek has found that adults with autism are more prone to compulsive video-game use than their typical peers. Sarah Deweerdt, Science | AAAS, "Can science-based video games help kids with autism?," 22 June 2018 Those who do come here aren't any more prone to criminal behavior than U.S. citizens. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Fact Check: Trump claims that U.S. has 'weakest and worst' immigration laws in world," 20 June 2018 And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young children are more prone to side effects than older kids. Michelle Watson, CNN, "Millions of kids on ADHD meds decide their treatment as adults," 6 June 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

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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

Comments on prone

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