from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Consisting or characteristic of prose.
  • adjective Matter-of-fact; straightforward.
  • adjective Lacking in imagination and spirit; dull.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to prose; resembling prose; in the form of prose.
  • Ordinary or commonplace in style or expression; uninteresting; dull; of persons, commonplace in thought; lacking imagination; literal.
  • Synonyms Vapid, flat, bald, tame, humdrum, stupid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to prose; resembling prose; in the form of prose; unpoetical; writing or using prose.
  • adjective Dull; uninteresting; commonplace; unimaginative; prosy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Pertaining to or having the characteristics of prose.
  • adjective of writing or speaking Straightforward; matter-of-fact; lacking the feeling or elegance of poetry.
  • adjective Overly plain or simple, to the point of being boring; humdrum.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective not challenging; dull and lacking excitement
  • adjective not fanciful or imaginative
  • adjective lacking wit or imagination


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin prōsaicus, from Latin prōsa, prose; see prose.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French prosaïque, from Medieval Latin prosaicus ("in prose"), from Latin prosa ("prose"), from prorsus ("straightforward, in prose"), from Old Latin provorsus ("straight ahead"), from pro- ("forward") + vorsus ("turned"), from vertō ("to turn"), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to turn, to bend”).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word prosaic.


  • My most cordial thanks therefore for the gift which you call prosaic, and my best regards to your husband.

    Letters Liszt, Franz 1893

  • The prosaic is an affair of description and narration, of details accumulated and relations elaborated, It spreads as it goes like a legal document or catalogue.

    John Dewey's *Art as Experience* 2010

  • Still other manufacturers wrap their cars in prosaic disguises in an attempt to travel on public streets without tipping off the paparazzi.

    Boing Boing: March 30, 2003 - April 5, 2003 Archives 2003

  • Even in prosaic settings "aggressiveness can be beneficial if it helps you pound the table and say, 'I want justice!"

    How We Become What We Are 1994

  • Even in prosaic settings "aggressiveness can be beneficial if it helps you pound the table and say, 'I want justice!"

    How We Become What We Are 1994

  • The greatest things that the world has seen have been wrought out under the eyes of us, plain prosaic men that we are.

    Imperial Plans in Education 1919

  • Poetic prose may not be the best prose, just as (to use a false antithesis) dull poetry is called prosaic; but there is no natural antagonism between prose and verse as literary mediums, provided always that the spirit that animates them be akin.

    Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti Hall Caine 1892

  • Out of these commonplace elements, elements that one might almost call prosaic, Wagner wrought his picture of storm, with its terror, power, joyous laughter of the storm's daughters -- storm as it must have seemed to the first poets of our race.

    Richard Wagner Composer of Operas John F. Runciman 1891

  • In the first place, then, he had the good fortune to be born in the most prosaic of all countries -- the most prosaic, that is, in external appearance, and even in the superficial character of its inhabitants.

    Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) Leslie Stephen 1868

  • Philippians 'renewed thought of him is likened to a tree's putting forth its buds in a gracious springtide, and may link with it the pretty fancy of an old commentator whom some people call prosaic and puritanical

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Second Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians Chapters I to End. Colossians, Thessalonians, and First Timothy. Alexander Maclaren 1868


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • everyday

    September 9, 2009

  • 'Nüchtern', 'Prosaisch' TOP 10 2)

    S: Prose pertaining, Unpoetical, Dull, Flat, Simple

    A: Poetical, Imaginative, Creative, Interesting, Exciting

    October 25, 2013