having a natural inclination or tendency to something; disposed; liable: to be prone to anger.
having the front or ventral part downward; lying face downward.
lying flat; prostrate.
having a downward direction or slope.
having the palm downward, as the hand.

Origin of prone

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin prōnus turned or leaning forward, inclined downward, disposed, prone
Related formsprone·ly, adverbprone·ness, noun
Can be confusedprone prostate prostrate supine

Synonyms for prone

1. apt, subject, tending. 3. recumbent.




a sermon or a brief hortatory introduction to a sermon, usually delivered at a service at which the Eucharist is celebrated.

Origin of prone

First recorded in 1660–70, prone is from the French word prône grill, grating (separating chancel from nave); so called because notices and addresses were delivered there Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prone

Contemporary Examples of prone

Historical Examples of prone

  • Youth is prone to endow its opinions with all the dignity of certain knowledge.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • All, both rulers and ruled, are men, and prone to follow after their lusts.

  • The weight which had crushed the bush down had been a prone, dead weight.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • All around him he saw the prone bodies of his men, naked to the view of all and sundry.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • I had rather dreaded the oath which his lordship is prone to use lightly.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for prone



lying flat or face downwards; prostrate
sloping or tending downwards
having an inclination to do something
Derived Formspronely, adverbproneness, noun

Word Origin for prone

C14: from Latin prōnus bent forward, from pro- 1
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

Word Origin and History for prone

c.1400, "naturally inclined to something, apt, liable," from Latin pronus "bent forward, leaning forward, bent over," figuratively "inclined to, disposed," perhaps from adverbial form of pro- "before, for, instead of" (see pro-) + ending as in infernus, externus. Meaning "lying face-down" is first recorded 1570s. Literal and figurative senses both were in Latin; figurative is older in English. Related: Proneness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prone in Medicine




Lying with the front or face downward.
Having a tendency; inclined.


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