Definitions

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

  • noun Ordinary speech or writing, without metrical structure.
  • noun Commonplace expression or quality.
  • noun Roman Catholic Church A hymn of irregular meter sung before the Gospel.
  • intransitive verb To write prose.
  • intransitive verb To speak or write in a dull, tiresome style.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To write or compose in prose: as, a fable prosed or versified.
  • To write or compose in prose.
  • To write or speak in a dull or tedious manner.
  • noun The ordinary written or spoken language of man; language not conformed to poetical measure, as opposed to verse or metrical composition. See poetry.
  • noun Hence Commonplace ideas or discourse.
  • noun In liturgics, a hymn sung after the gradual, originating from a practice of setting words to the jubilatio of the alleluia.
  • noun An oration; a story.
  • Relating to or consisting of prose; prosaic; not poetic; hence, plain; commonplace.

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

  • noun The ordinary language of men in speaking or writing; language not cast in poetical measure or rhythm; -- contradistinguished from verse, or metrical composition.
  • noun Hence, language which evinces little imagination or animation; dull and commonplace discourse.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) A hymn with no regular meter, sometimes introduced into the Mass. See Sequence.
  • adjective Pertaining to, or composed of, prose; not in verse.
  • adjective Possessing or exhibiting unpoetical characteristics; plain; dull; prosaic.
  • transitive verb To write in prose.
  • transitive verb To write or repeat in a dull, tedious, or prosy way.
  • intransitive verb To write prose.

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

  • noun Language, particularly written language, not intended as poetry.
  • verb to write or repeat in a dull, tedious, or prosy way

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

  • noun matter of fact, commonplace, or dull expression
  • noun ordinary writing as distinguished from verse

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prōsa (ōrātiō), straightforward (discourse), feminine of prōsus, alteration of prōrsus, from prōversus, past participle of prōvertere, to turn forward : prō-, forward; see pro– + vertere, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Used in English since 1330, from Old French prose, the Latin word prōsa ("straightforward") from the term prōsa ōrātio ("a straightforward speech- i.e. without the ornaments of verse"). The term prōsa ("straightforward") is a colloquial form of prorsa ("straight forwards") which is the feminine form of straight forwards, from Old Latin prōvorsus ("moving straight ahead"), from pro- ("forward") + turned, form of vertō ("I turn"). Compare verse.

Examples

  • For practical convenience three main sorts of rhythmic prose may be distinguished: (1) _characteristic prose_, or that in which no regularity (coincidence) is easily appreciable; (2) _cadenced prose_, or that in which the regularity is perceptible, but unobtrusive, and (3) _metrical prose_, or that in which the regularity is so noticeable as to be unpleasing.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • Yasmin's (Anika Noni Rose) crime report to the police officer, in prose, is almost placid yet intense.

    Jenee Darden: HuffPost Review: Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls

  • Yasmin's (Anika Noni Rose) crime report to the police officer, in prose, is almost placid yet intense.

    Jenee Darden: HuffPost Review: Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls

  • The primary issue in prose is motive: You have to understand why the people do what they do, or else the whole shebang falls apart as illusion.

    Film and Literature

  • I think that to capture another time in prose is a gift beyond worth.

    Living in the past - minor news...

  • She says the last thing she's fallen back on is line breaks, that poetry has line breaks, and therefore she refuses to use the term prose poetry, because it finally shatters the last bit of taxonomy she has.

    Archive 2004-11-01

  • She says the last thing she's fallen back on is line breaks, that poetry has line breaks, and therefore she refuses to use the term prose poetry, because it finally shatters the last bit of taxonomy she has.

    A Conversation with Sonya Taaffe

  • Because I'm an art student, and a highly-visually-oriented person, one of the things I love the most about your prose is the lushness and the beautiful sentences.

    "If there really was a God here, he'd have raised a hand by now."

  • As to the author's highly mannered style, it's not so much that his prose is awkward and lumbering — which it is! — just that the man's supreme lack of command for the English language is visible in every sentence, every phrase, every word, down to the smallest phoneme.

    Tomb by Z. S. Adani

  • "Steeped in effective 19th-century archaism, yet steely in sustaining the story, the prose is as poetic as it is violent."

    Canaan's Tongue by John Wray: Book summary

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