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

During his two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president, the internet turned him into the well-meaning uncle who sometimes was prone to goofiness. Vera Bergengruen, Time, "Joe Biden Has Been in High-Pressure Debates Before. But Never Like This," 27 June 2019 For example, beginning in the early 1980s, judge after judge kept under seal evidence that the trigger on Remington Arms Co's Remington 700 hunting rifle was prone to misfiring. NBC News, "How judges added to the grim toll of opioids," 25 June 2019 That a lesbian meant a woman who was prone to giving wanton blow jobs? Anyway.com. Anna Pulley, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Anna: Am I old-fashioned for not wanting to use the term queer?," 24 June 2019 But too many of his teammates are prone to striking out, while the Astros have a bunch of hitters who make contact and slug. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Astros Offer Yankees a Potential Glimpse of the Postseason," 23 June 2019 Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which is prone to theft and political instability, rated a 77; San Salvador, 78; Manila, 74; and Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 66 and 76, respectively. Christopher Elliott, Twin Cities, "Where in the world shouldn’t I go on vacation?," 15 June 2019 But a word of warning: This industry is prone to froth. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "CrowdStrike IPO: Investors Are Positively CrowdStruck—Cyber Saturday," 15 June 2019 For one thing, the state has always been prone to periods of flood followed by periods of drought. Gerard Helferich, WSJ, "‘The Dreamt Land’ Review: California’s Precious Resource," 14 June 2019 While even the saltiest of sea dogs are prone to bouts of illness aboard cruise ships, Maryland vacationers may take comfort in knowing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closely monitors health standards on commercial ships. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "How many passengers got sick on cruises leaving Baltimore? The CDC has an answer for that and more.," 13 June 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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Statistics for prone

Last Updated

6 Jul 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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