prose

noun
\ ˈprōz How to pronounce prose (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pro se (audio) , -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

Vonnegut’s prose, even when dealing with the dreadful, whistles a happy tune. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, "What Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” Tells Us Now," 13 June 2019 For decades, the brilliant Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was hidden from American readers by awful translations that erased her dense, challenging prose (think James Joyce). Carolyn Kellogg, latimes.com, "Rediscovering Clarice Lispector, the Brazilian author who blurs the lines of dreams," 13 June 2019 The menu’s prose, limited to the ingredient list format that Bay Area restaurants love so much, reveals fragments of brilliance within the classic dishes. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "The Vault, San Francisco’s new Financial District blockbuster, comes up empty," 13 June 2019 But weird things happen when translating prose as dense as Bellow’s into dialogue. Jesse Green, New York Times, "In Chicago’s Vibrant Theater Scene, Two Tales of One City," 7 June 2019 But the stark intimacy of Normal People’s prose feels like a jolt straight to the solar plexus: astonishingly vivid and real. David Canfield, EW.com, "The 10 best books of 2019...so far," 4 June 2019 Such meddling is usually obvious to admissions officers, however, who have a keen eye for teenagers’ authentic, and often imperfect, prose. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Survive College-Application Season With the Family in One Piece," 11 Dec. 2018 In Anne Tyler’s effortless, uncluttered prose, the novel beautifully explores an older woman’s search for meaning and agency in her life. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of July: the Monitor's picks," 12 July 2018 The sorrow of his passing mingles with the desire for a New New Journalism that can some how channel the exclamation-point beauty — ZAP!!– of Wolfe’s glorious prose into the not-so-cynical poetry of a better America. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Tom Wolfe gave us the best words about modern America … and the cynicism to watch it fail | Will Bunch," 17 May 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, Adjective, and Verb

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 or adverb

Latin

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Statistics for prose

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce prose (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on prose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prose

Spanish Central: Translation of prose

Nglish: Translation of prose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prose for Arabic Speakers

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