prose

noun
\ˈprōz \

Definition of prose 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing

b : a literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech

2 : a dull or ordinary style, quality, or condition

prose

adjective

Definition of prose (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : of, relating to, or written in prose

2 : prosaic

prose

verb
prosed; prosing

Definition of prose (Entry 3 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to write prose

2 : to write or speak in a dull or ordinary manner

\ˈprō-ˈsā, -ˈsē\

Definition of pro se (Entry 4 of 4)

: on one's own behalf : without an attorney a pro se action a defendant's right to proceed pro se

Examples of prose in a Sentence

Noun

… the esteemed critic James Wood reaches out to assure "the common reader" … that his prose is as free as he can make it of what James Joyce termed "the true scholastic stink" of so much academic writing. — Walter Kirn, New York Times Book Review, 17 Aug. 2008 Like many two-person writing teams, this one produces its share of three-legged prose and redundancy. — James McManus, New York Times Book Review, 15 Apr. 2001 In my own work I felt a need to hurry from climax as in film montage, or even in Joycean prose with its strings of firecracker words … — Arthur Miller, Timebends, 1987 She writes in very clear prose.

Verb

'In the meantime,' said Traddles, coming back to his chair; 'and this is the end of my prosing about myself, I get on as well as I can. I don't make much, but I don't spend much … ' — Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1850

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This blending of gnomic pronouncements with macho intimations of violence—a little Heidegger, a little more Hunter S. Thompson—is the weakness in Neel’s thinking and in his prose. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 His volumes of poetry and prose are crass and melancholic, vengeful eulogies for a nation on fire. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 The storytelling is eclectic by design: a collage of poetry and prose, OkCupid chats and diary entries, tweets and interview transcripts; there’s even a series of drawings. Steph Cha, USA TODAY, "Amber Tamblyn takes on rape culture (with a daring twist) in debut novel, 'Any Man'," 26 June 2018 Kim Stafford, director of Lewis & Clark College's Northwest Writing Institute, has published a dozen books of poetry and prose. Amy Wang, OregonLive.com, "Kim Stafford is named Oregon's ninth poet laureate," 15 May 2018 Birds of the Photo Ark, with striking portraits of over 250 birds by photographer Joel Sartore and elegant prose from record-setting birder Noah Strycker, is available now at shopng.com/books. National Geographic, "The Biggest Bird That Ever Lived and 5 More Bird Superstars," 15 May 2018 His prose has appeared or is forthcoming in The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Post Road, The Normal School, Ruminate, and various other publications. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 Robertson's prose bookending conversations and introducing the combat sections is poetic and powerful, with a hint of the Mountain Goats, reaching that point of being sentimental without being treacly, tender without being purple. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Extreme Meatpunks Forever," 11 July 2018 The hashtag, which imagines Civil War era-esque prose with a (sometimes hilarious) modern twist, seems to be in response to conservative talk show host Alex Jones, who tweeted Monday that Democrats planned to launch a civil war on July 4. Jaclyn Reiss, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s why #secondcivilwarletters is trending (and a look at some of the funniest tweets)," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective or adverb

On his own, with no legal training, Kameny wrote and filed a pro se appeal to the Supreme Court — the first time the rights of gays, or lack thereof, were taken to the nation’s highest court. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, "The gay rights pioneer who demanded justice from the Supreme Court in 1960," 9 June 2018 Often, pro se litigants are left waiting for extended periods of time on court dockets, for instance the domestic violence docket. Nick Hollkamp, The Courier-Journal, "Voters guide: Candidates for family court and district judges," 16 May 2018 McGrath also ordered the county to repay a $25 fee a cleveland.com reporter paid to file the pro se lawsuit. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Judge orders Cuyahoga County to release video of jail guard attacking inmate," 26 Feb. 2018 For example, instead of trying to fund lawyers for litigants who might otherwise represent themselves, legal processes could be made more friendly to pro se representation. Jonathan H. Adler, WSJ, "The Case for Fewer Lawyers," 6 Sep. 2017 Aside from pro se, your options include any one of the following (or a combination thereof), in order of least to most expensive and starting at about $2,000. Charlotte Cowles, The Cut, "I Can’t Afford to Divorce My Rich Husband," 26 Oct. 2017 During courtroom proceedings, judges report, pro se litigants often fail to raise objections or properly introduce evidence. Jonathan H. Adler, WSJ, "The Case for Fewer Lawyers," 6 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prose.' 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 prose

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective or adverb

1861, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prose

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin prosa, from feminine of prorsus, prosus, straightforward, being in prose, contraction of proversus, past participle of provertere to turn forward, from pro- forward + vertere to turn — more at pro-, worth

Adjective

see prose entry 1

Verb

see prose entry 1

Adjective or adverb

Latin

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Statistics for prose

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prose

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

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More Definitions for prose

prose

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prose

: writing that is not poetry : ordinary writing

prose

noun
\ˈprōz \

Kids Definition of prose

1 : the ordinary language that people use in speaking or writing

2 : writing without the repeating rhythm that is used in poetry

\ˈprō-ˈsā, -ˈsē\

Legal Definition of pro se 

: on one's own behalf : without an attorney a defendant's right to proceed pro se a pro se action

History and Etymology for prose

Latin

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Comments on prose

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