It’s easy to confuse the meaning of prone and also supine — and it’s important to distinguish in between them, because they’re antonyms. (I also discuss here some of the synonyms of each word.)

Prone, native the Latin hatchet pronus, method “inclined to,” and it is generally used in this figurative sense as well as to median “lying face down.” Pronate, used both as a verb and also as an adjective, method “to bending forward” or “bent forward,” respectively.

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Prostrate, a synonym because that prone, means not just “lying flat”; it has the extr connotation the “stretched out” and often describes the adoption of that position to suggest submission, as a subject lying prostrate prior to a monarch. (Prostrate, no prostate; that’s the name of a gland in masculine mammals.) Prostrate is likewise the verb form, and also prostration is the noun form. (Prostration is no to be perplexed with obeisance, which describes the mere act of bowing.) Procumbent is another synonym; it additionally describes nonrooting tree stems the trail along the ground.

Supine, indigenous the Latin indigenous supinus, means “thrown or turned backward,” and also describes someone who is lied on one’s back; uneven prone, it has no figurative sense. Supinate is also an adjectival form, and supination is a noun meaning “the act or state of lie on one’s back.”

Recumbent is a synonym that likewise suggests the action of leaning back or resting, together on a bed or couch; in addition, it explains such a posture in intuitive art. Decumbent, meanwhile, also method lying down and also in botany denotes a plant that does that but has upright parts. (Yes, incumbent, an interpretation “one who occupies an office or position,” is regarded the various other -cumbent terms here.)

Prone and also supine each have rarely used adverbial and noun forms: pronely (or merely prone) and also supinely, and proneness and also supineness.

Pronation and also supination are supplied in anatomical and medical contexts to describe the place of limbs, especially, in sporting activities medicine, come the location of the foot while running; supination (or underpronation) can cause injury.

Supine likewise has a definition as a noun; it describes an infinitive phrase starting with to or, in Latin, to a specific form of noun.

Two terms similar to prone and supine room dorsal and ventral; dorsal refers to the back, and ventral describes the abdomen. To aid you remember i beg your pardon is which, think of just how the very first syllable of dorsal rhymes v porpoise, identified by the dorsal fin. Ventral, meanwhile, despite its an initial syllable is not etymologically concerned vent, deserve to be remembered as the side from which you breathe.

Mnemonic clues to help you remember i m sorry is which encompass thinking the the pro- in prone (which actually method “forward”) to remind you that when you space prone, your challenge is towards the floor or ground. Supine, meanwhile, can be concerned spine, which as soon as you room supine is in contact with the floor or ground.

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5 Responses come “Prone vs. Supine”

Geosotaon April 10, 2012 10:30 am

Probably the best-known misuse is by (original) black color Panther Party leader Stokely Charmichael. In an answer to a 1964 short article titled, “The place of women in SNCC” reputedly responded, “The only position for ladies in SNCC is prone.” that course, he expected “supine”.

Sallyon April 11, 2012 12:57 am

And Stokely deserved castration, whatever word the used!

venqaxon October 11, 2012 2:04 pm

Why perform you have to say prostRate? Why not simply prostate in every case? See, I’m thinking of FebUary, and also the rule of English pronunciation that says you deserve to drop Rs whenever you desire to, cuz they’re just too dang(ed) hard to speak in the center of a word. Tempature and libary are two various other perfectly acceptable examples.

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Freimaon October 15, 2016 2:36 pm


Venqax – Why not say prostate rather of prostrate? because ‘prostate’ is a different word entirely and has a definition that is no at all pertained to ‘prostrate’.As for February, you have the right to miss the end the center ‘r’ if you desire to, yet it’s lazy and incorrect. The remainder of us will proceed to spell and say words correctly.Also – what ‘rule’? mine grammar school didn’t teach the one.

Mary-Margaret Swoffordon august 09, 2017 5:29 am

“Prone just sees the ground; supine look at the sunshine.”. Supine and also sunshine both begin with an “S”, and also “supine” and also “sunshine” rhyme. One more mnemonic for children: “I write with my right and this is what’s left”, or ” i write through my left and also that is every right!