[adjective soo-pahyn; noun soo-pahyn]
  1. lying on the back, face or front upward.
  2. inactive, passive, or inert, especially from indolence or indifference.
  3. (of the hand) having the palm upward.
  1. (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.”
  2. (in English) the simple infinitive of a verb preceded by to.
  3. 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 formssu·pine·ly, adverbsu·pine·ness, nounun·su·pine, adjective
Can be confusedprone prostate prostrate supine Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for supinely

Historical Examples of supinely

  • Weakly, supinely, slavishly, America was submitting to British insolence.

    The Messenger

    Elizabeth Robins

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


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for supinely


adjective (suːˈpaɪn, sjuː-, ˈsuːpaɪn, ˈsjuː-)
  1. lying or resting on the back with the face, palm, etc, upwards
  2. displaying no interest or animation; lethargic
noun (ˈsuːpaɪn, ˈsjuː-)
  1. grammar a noun form derived from a verb in Latin, often used to express purpose with verbs of motionAbbreviation: sup
Derived Formssupinely, adverbsupineness, noun

Word Origin for supine

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

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

supinely in Medicine


[sōō-pīn, sōōpīn′]
  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.