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[adjective soo-pahyn; noun soo-pahyn] /adjective suˈpaɪn; noun ˈsu paɪn/
lying on the back, face or front upward.
inactive, passive, or inert, especially from indolence or indifference.
(of the hand) having the palm upward.
(in Latin) a noun form derived from verbs, appearing only in the accusative and the dative-ablative, as dictū in mirābile dictū, “wonderful to say.”.
(in English) the simple infinitive of a verb preceded by to.
an analogous form in some other language.
Origin of supine
First recorded in 1490-1500, supine is from the Latin word supīnus lying face up, inactive
Related forms
supinely, adverb
supineness, noun
unsupine, adjective
Can be confused
prone, prostate, prostrate, supine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for supine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is the assembly to be deemed indifferent or supine because it refuses to act on the testimony of a solitary witness?

  • He began to sink slowly back into the blankets, supine and inert.

    Nicanor - Teller of Tales C. Bryson Taylor
  • And I do not wish them, or anything you have, or have not, to make you discontented; I only pray you not to be supine.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • Erect or supine, these colossal statues were strewn all over the island.

  • Mr. supine was fast asleep, and his pupil triumphed in his successful frolic.

  • The supine position, as in the adult, is imposed only at night.

  • But here in America, "the colourless shadow land of fiction," is there no tragedy in Gilead for souls not supine?

    Ivory Apes and Peacocks James Huneker
  • In this supine, hopeless state, the priest could in no way prevail on him.

    The Treasure of Pearls Gustave Aimard
British Dictionary definitions for supine


adjective (suːˈpaɪn; sjuː-; ˈsuːpaɪn; ˈsjuː-)
lying or resting on the back with the face, palm, etc, upwards
displaying no interest or animation; lethargic
noun (ˈsuːpaɪn; ˈsjuː-)
(grammar) a noun form derived from a verb in Latin, often used to express purpose with verbs of motion sup
Derived Forms
supinely, adverb
supineness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin supīnus related to sub under, up; (in grammatical sense) from Latin verbum supīnum supine word (the reason for this use is unknown)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for supine

c.1500, from Latin supinus "turned or thrown backwards, inactive, indolent," related to sub "under" (see sub-). The grammatical use for "Latin verbal noun formed from the past participle stem" is from Late Latin supinum verbum "supine verb," perhaps so called because, though furnished with a noun case ending, it "falls back" on the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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supine in Medicine

supine su·pine (sōō-pīn', sōō'pīn')

  1. Lying on the back; having the face upward.

  2. Having the palm of the hand or sole of the foot upward.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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