1 : characteristic of prose as distinguished from poetry : factual
2 : dull, unimaginative
3 : everyday, ordinary
Did You Know?
In the 1600s, any text that was not poetic was prosaic. Back then, "prosaic" carried no negative connotations; it simply indicated that a written work was made up of prose. That sense clearly owes much to the meaning of the word's Latin ancestor "prosa," which meant "prose." By the end of the 17th century, though, poetry had come to be viewed as the more beautiful, imaginative, and emotional type of writing, and prose was relegated to the status of mundane and plain-Jane. As a result, English speakers started using "prosaic" to refer to anything considered matter-of-fact or ordinary, and they gradually transformed it into a synonym for "colorless," "drab," "lifeless," and "lackluster."
The novel's protagonist is a young accountant who has grown weary of her prosaic life and longs for adventure and world travels.
"It was as if our drought had developed the magical powers of a dark lord, the ability to suck water back uphill, away from the farmers down south who need it.… The reality here is more prosaic, but revealing. No dark magic, just a year so dry that Gus's model can't cope with the reality of the situation." - From an article by John Fleck in Albuquerque Journal, May 7, 2013
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "prosaic" in its "ordinary" sense: wraa. The answer is …
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