Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To put or throw flat with the face down, as in submission or adoration.
  • transitive verb To cause to lie flat.
  • transitive verb To reduce to extreme weakness or incapacitation; overcome.
  • adjective Lying face down, as in submission or adoration.
  • adjective Lying flat or at full length.
  • adjective Reduced to extreme weakness or incapacitation; overcome.
  • adjective Botany Growing flat along the ground.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To lay flat; throw down: as, to prostrate the body.
  • To throw down; overthrow; demolish; ruin: as, to prostrate a government; to prostrate the honor of a nation.
  • To throw (one's self) down, in humility or adoration; bow with the face to the ground: used reflexively.
  • To present submissively; submit in reverence.
  • In medicine, to make to sink totally; reduce extremely; cause to succumb: as, to prostrate a person's strength.
  • Lying at length, or with the body extended on the ground or other surface.
  • Lying at mercy, as a suppliant or one who is overcome in fight: as, a prostrate foe.
  • Lying or bowed low in the posture of humility or adoration.
  • In botany, lying flat and spreading on the ground without taking root; procumbent.
  • In zoology, closely appressed to the surface; lying flat: as, prostrate hairs.

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

  • adjective Lying at length, or with the body extended on the ground or other surface; stretched out.
  • adjective Lying at mercy, as a supplicant.
  • adjective Lying in a humble, lowly, or suppliant posture.
  • adjective (Bot.) Trailing on the ground; procumbent.
  • transitive verb To lay fiat; to throw down; to level; to fell
  • transitive verb to overthrow; to demolish; to destroy; to deprive of efficiency; to ruin
  • transitive verb To throw down, or cause to fall in humility or adoration; to cause to bow in humble reverence; used reflexively.
  • transitive verb To cause to sink totally; to deprive of strength; to reduce.

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

  • adjective Lying flat, facedown.
  • adjective Emotionally devastated.
  • adjective Physically incapacitated from environmental exposure or debilitating disease.
  • verb To lie flat or facedown.
  • verb To throw oneself down in submission (also figuratively).
  • verb To cause to lie down, to flatten; (figuratively) to overcome or overpower.

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

  • verb get into a prostrate position, as in submission
  • verb throw down flat, as on the ground
  • adjective lying face downward
  • verb render helpless or defenseless
  • adjective stretched out and lying at full length along the ground

Etymologies

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

[Middle English prostraten, from prostrat, prostrate, from Latin prōstrātus, past participle of prōsternere, to throw down : prō-, forward; see pro– + sternere, to spread, cast down; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin prostratus, past participle of prosternere ("to prostrate").

Examples

  • By the way, avoid some embarrassment by not confusing prostate, which can be inflamed enough to knock you to the floor, with the word prostrate, which means you are lying flat on the floor.

    You Staying Young

  • By the way, avoid some embarrassment by not confusing prostate, which can be inflamed enough to knock you to the floor, with the word prostrate, which means you are lying flat on the floor.

    You Staying Young

  • By the way, avoid some embarrassment by not confusing prostate, which can be inflamed enough to knock you to the floor, with the word prostrate, which means you are lying flat on the floor.

    You Staying Young

  • My joints are stiff, my prostrate is large, And I must answer to the captain in charge.

    Florida Keys Swordfish Limerick Contest

  • Or sit out there making a Daisy Chain, but I think after my photography session I've had enough suspicious glances from my neighbours seeing me yet again prostrate on my lawn.

    Spring is Sprung

  • My joints are stiff, my prostrate is largeAnd I must answer to the man in charge.

    Florida Keys Swordfish Limerick Contest

  • My joints are stiff, my prostrate is large, And I must answer to the man in charge.

    Florida Keys Swordfish Limerick Contest

  • A World News article in some editions Friday misspelled the word as prostrate.

    Corrections & Amplifications

  • He recalled the prostrate form of Henry Xonck — it might not be long before Francis Xonck was more powerful than five Harald Crabbés put together.

    The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

  • He recalled the prostrate form of Henry Xonck — it might not be long before Francis Xonck was more powerful than five Harald Crabbés put together.

    The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

Comments

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  • The catcher hits for .318 and catches every day

    The pitcher puts religion first and rests on holidays

    He goes into cathedrals and lies prostrate on the floor

    He knows the drink affects his speed, he’s praying for

    a doorway

    Back into the life he wants and the confession of the bench

    Life outside the diamond is a wrench.

    (Piazza, New York catcher, by Belle and Sebastian)

    September 8, 2008