Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To put or throw flat with the face down, as in submission or adoration: "He did not simply sit and meditate, he also knelt down, sometimes even prostrated himself” ( Iris Murdoch).
  • transitive v. To cause to lie flat: The wind prostrated the young trees.
  • transitive v. To reduce to extreme weakness or incapacitation; overcome: an illness that prostrated an entire family; a nation that was prostrated by years of civil war.
  • adj. Lying face down, as in submission or adoration.
  • adj. Lying flat or at full length.
  • adj. Reduced to extreme weakness or incapacitation; overcome.
  • adj. Botany Growing flat along the ground.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

Etymologies

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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin prostratus, past participle of prosternere ("to prostrate"). (Wiktionary)

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

  • 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

  • Arise -- for he had "fallen down on his face at His feet" (Lu 17: 16) and there lain prostrate. faith made thee whole -- not as the others, merely in body, but in that higher spiritual sense with which His constant language has so familiarized us.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • While the light still strengthened, while the slow minutes still followed each other unheeded, the one influence that could rouse Sydney found her at last -- set her faint heart throbbing -- called her prostrate spirit to life again.

    The Evil Genius

  • Jeremy, in the case of the Magi, the Greek term should probably be translated in the "prostrate" sense.

    Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

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