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

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 Both teams struggled to maintain consistency on offense and were prone to turnovers. Alex Miller, Dallas News, "Led by a freshman, Texas A&M pulls away for win over Missouri," 5 Feb. 2020 Apps are also particularly vulnerable to malware and are prone to leaking your personal data. Amrita Khalid, Quartz, "Why apps don’t belong anywhere near elections," 5 Feb. 2020 Prior to November, detectives worked long shifts and were prone to burnout. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "How Cleveland police managed to solve more murders in 2019 than previous years despite detective shortage," 1 Feb. 2020 The candidate is prone to indecision, sometimes paralyzingly so. Time, "‘You’ve Got to Have Purpose.’ Joe Biden's 2020 Campaign Is the Latest Test in a Lifetime of Loss," 30 Jan. 2020 Low-energy electrons are prone to getting too close. Eric Hand, Science | AAAS, "‘We need a people’s cryo-EM.’ Scientists hope to bring revolutionary microscope to the masses," 23 Jan. 2020 Suleimani’s death is unlikely to alter the pattern of Israel and Iran deploying remarkably similar strategies of persistent mutual military provocations that are prone to unexpected, swift escalation. Steven Simon, The New York Review of Books, "The Middle East: Trump Blunders In," 16 Jan. 2020 As the zodiac's traveler, Sagittarius are prone to restlessness and always looking for their next big adventure. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Where To Travel In 2020 Based On Your Zodiac Sign," 11 Jan. 2020 The plasma inside a tokamak is held there by magnetic fields, and these are prone to imperfections that can turn into disruptive flaws. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "China Is Building an Artificial Sun," 20 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for prone

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prone

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prone. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for prone

prone

adjective
How to pronounce prone (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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