pro·​long | \ prə-ˈlȯŋ How to pronounce prolong (audio) \
prolonged; prolonging; prolongs

Definition of prolong

transitive verb

1 : to lengthen in time : continue
2 : to lengthen in extent, scope, or range

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Other Words from prolong

prolongation \ (ˌ)prō-​ˌlȯŋ-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce prolong (audio) , prə-​ How to pronounce prolong (audio) \ noun
prolonger \ prə-​ˈlȯŋ-​ər How to pronounce prolong (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for prolong

extend, lengthen, prolong, protract mean to draw out or add to so as to increase in length. extend and lengthen imply a drawing out in space or time but extend may also imply increase in width, scope, area, or range. extend a vacation extend welfare services lengthen a skirt lengthen the workweek prolong suggests chiefly increase in duration especially beyond usual limits. prolonged illness protract adds to prolong implications of needlessness, vexation, or indefiniteness. protracted litigation

Examples of prolong in a Sentence

Additives are used to prolong the shelf life of packaged food. High interest rates were prolonging the recession.
Recent Examples on the Web Students can prolong their stays in college by arriving unprepared, taking too few credits per semester, working while in school, changing majors, running out of money or taking time off for family obligations and other reasons. NBC News, 10 Oct. 2021 Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the fuel ampoule can prolong the time missiles can spend deployed, waiting for launch. Brad Lendon, CNN, 29 Sep. 2021 Does getting screened for cancer really prolong your life? Benjamin Mazer, The Atlantic, 5 Sep. 2021 Their actions might prolong the pandemic, allowing the virus an opportunity to mutate and potentially render vaccines ineffective – behavior that puts everyone at risk. Michael Locke Mclendon, The Conversation, 21 July 2021 So while marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, selective enforcement would only prolong the doping scourge. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, 18 July 2021 Winning teams need as many arms as possible, so adding Jobe to the mix by 2023 or 2024 could prolong the opportunities to get deep into the playoffs. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 11 July 2021 Such disparity could prolong the pandemic and allow for dangerous variants to emerge as the virus continues to spread. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 10 June 2021 Moreover, any delay will also prolong the economic misery, by ensuring that efforts to resume commerce, trade and travel continue to stall. Seth Berkley, Time, 11 May 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prolong

Middle English, from Middle French prolonguer, from Late Latin prolongare, from Latin pro- forward + longus long

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Time Traveler for prolong

Time Traveler

The first known use of prolong was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prolong.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for prolong



English Language Learners Definition of prolong

: to make (something) last or continue for a longer time


pro·​long | \ prə-ˈlȯŋ How to pronounce prolong (audio) \
prolonged; prolonging

Kids Definition of prolong

: to make longer than usual or expected Medicines prolonged his life.

More from Merriam-Webster on prolong

Nglish: Translation of prolong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prolong for Arabic Speakers


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