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 & Antonyms for prone

Synonyms

prostrate

Antonyms

supine

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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

But like his late idol Thompson, Depp can be prone to exaggeration, according to Rolling Stone. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "Johnny Depp Says His Manager's Claim He Spent $30K on Wine Is 'Insulting': 'It Was Far More'," 21 June 2018 But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018 Manufacturers such as Sunbrella or Crypton Fabrics supply upholstery fabrics that repel water and offer the ultimate cleaning capability — perfect for dining chairs that are prone to spills or stains. Detroit Free Press, "6 ways to make the most of your dining room space," 21 June 2018 Inside the lake, rising water levels have authorities nervous about a potential breech in the leak-prone Herbert Hoover Dike, which could flood 37,000 nearby residents. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "Army Corps can’t promise 2016’s algae blooms won’t return, but this strategy may help," 12 July 2018 Uncertainty over what to do with massive radioactive waste in the crowded and earthquake-prone island nation is another big concern. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Japan OKs ambitious nuke energy goals, plutonium reuse plan," 3 July 2018 Stage 2 fire restrictions were enacted in early May because of the fire-prone conditions after a dry winter. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Lightning-sparked Judd Fire burns 4,300 acres near Bisbee," 9 June 2018 Boys were depicted as socially awkward, blushing, stammering, and accident-prone, while girls were giggly and boy-crazy. Michael Cart, Smithsonian, "How “Young Adult” Fiction Blossomed With Teenage Culture in America," 7 May 2018 Mayor Ted Wheeler wants to give owners of earthquake-prone buildings more time to make costly upgrades. Elliot Njus, OregonLive.com, "Wheeler proposes longer timeline for Portland seismic upgrade mandate," 2 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

9 Nov 2018

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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