[ pros-treyt ]
See synonyms for: prostrateprostrated on

verb (used with object),pros·trat·ed, pros·trat·ing.
  1. to cast (oneself) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration.

  2. to lay flat, as on the ground.

  1. to throw down level with the ground.

  2. to overthrow, overcome, or reduce to helplessness.

  3. to reduce to physical weakness or exhaustion.

  1. lying flat or at full length, as on the ground.

  2. lying face down on the ground, as in token of humility, submission, or adoration.

  1. overthrown, overcome, or helpless: a country left prostrate by natural disasters.

  2. physically weak or exhausted.

  3. utterly dejected or depressed; disconsolate.

  4. Botany. (of a plant or stem) lying flat on the ground.

Origin of prostrate

First recorded in 1350–1400; (for the adjective) Middle English prostrat, from Latin prōstrātus “lying flat,” past participle of prōsternere “to lie flat, knock down, overthrow,” from prō- pro-1 + sternere “to lay out, stretch, spread”; verb derivative of the adjective

Other words for prostrate

Other words from prostrate

  • pros·tra·tive [pros-truh-tiv], /ˈprɒs trə tɪv/, adjective
  • pros·tra·tor, noun
  • un·pros·trat·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with prostrate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prostrate in a sentence

  • Prostrating themselves before Juanna and Otter they remained plunged in silence.

    The People Of The Mist | H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for prostrate


  1. lying with the face downwards, as in submission

  2. exhausted physically or emotionally

  1. helpless or defenceless

  2. (of a plant) growing closely along the ground

verb(prɒˈstreɪt) (tr)
  1. to bow or cast (oneself) down, as in submission

  2. to lay or throw down flat, as on the ground

  1. to make helpless or defenceless

  2. to make exhausted

Origin of prostrate

C14: from Latin prōsternere to throw to the ground, from prō- before + sternere to lay low

Derived forms of prostrate

  • prostration, noun

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

Scientific definitions for prostrate


[ prŏstrāt′ ]

  1. Growing flat along the ground. Creeping jenny, pennyroyal, and many species of ivy have a prostrate growth habit.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.