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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for supinely
Historical Examples
  • Weakly, supinely, slavishly, America was submitting to British insolence.

    The Messenger

    Elizabeth Robins
  • Why forget so supinely His failures to remedy the easily remediable?

    Damn! Henry Louis Mencken
  • He had not the least intention of supinely yielding to her foolish belief—it could not be other than that—that she disliked him.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • For weeks we have endured, supinely on our backs, the tyranny of Mrs. Van Asterbilt, the matron of this House.

    The Eternal Boy Owen Johnson
  • The Chinese had supinely permitted this dangerous power to grow up among their tributaries on the north.

  • I knew how supinely Appleboro lay in the hollow of a hard hand.

  • She looks to me for help and protection, and I supinely sit and grieve when I should be up and doing!

    The Sapphire Cross George Manville Fenn
  • We have, I say, supinely permitted each insult to pass unchallenged.

    The Eternal Boy Owen Johnson
  • That may have been; but it is improbable that the dauntless old pathfinder would have succumbed so supinely.

    The "Adventurers of England" on Hudson Bay

    Agnes C. (Agnes Christina) Laut
  • They offend all Christendom, and though nations may, supinely, say Am I my brothers keeper?

    The Religious Persecution in France 1900-1906 Jane Milliken Napier Brodhead
British Dictionary definitions for supinely


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 supinely



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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supinely 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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