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

Goessling’s lack of support for communities that include marginalized women, who can be especially prone to domestic and dating violence, is telling. Teen Vogue, "Shannon Goessling, Trump’s Pick to Lead the Office on Violence Against Women, Has a Troubling Record," 18 Mar. 2019 Some leathers are more prone to scratches than others, but these scratches to the surface don't have to be a deal-breaker—think of it like your pets breaking in your leather sofa, like an old leather cigar jacket. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "The Most Pet-Proof Fabrics Are Not What You'd Expect," 14 Feb. 2019 The Federal Aviation Administration is reportedly on the cusp of approving a safety update that could make the seemingly disaster-prone aircraft viable again, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "FAA 'Tentatively' Approves Software Update For The Grounded Boeing 737 Max 8," 25 Mar. 2019 The company has drawn activists’ concern that minerals from conflict-prone countries in the region, especially Congo, will be among its raw materials. Rodney Muhumuza, The Seattle Times, "Uganda holds 3.6 tons of gold possibly from Venezuela," 25 Mar. 2019 My husband has even gotten into it, using it on his eczema-prone elbows and knees. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Aquaphor Is the Drugstore Cure-All You Never Knew You Needed," 8 Mar. 2019 New York's trio of delay-prone airports lead the pack: LaGuardia is currently seeing the most delays and cancellations, followed by JFK and Newark; Chicago O'Hare and Boston round out the top five. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Winter Storm Is Probably Going to Mess Up Your Holiday Travel," 21 Dec. 2018 The small palladium market is also prone to outsize swings, so some traders are bracing for a sharp decline if trade setbacks or higher supply shift the outlook. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Palladium Threatens Gold’s Reign as Most Precious Metal," 4 Dec. 2018 Oregon, Washington and Montana are among the states also prone to destructive blazes. Rani Molla, Recode, "Recent East Coast hurricanes have gotten more media coverage than California wildfires," 21 Nov. 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

13 Apr 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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