Definition of prosthetic in US English:



  • 1Denoting an artificial body part, such as a limb, a heart, or a breast implant.

    ‘he wears prosthetic legs because his own were amputated’
    • ‘In this case, cineplastic surgery was performed to prepare the limb for the use of a prosthetic.’
    • ‘If this happens, your knee joint can be replaced with a prosthetic one.’
    • ‘This patient, a 10 year old boy, had subaortic obstruction and had outgrown his original prosthetic aortic valve.’
    • ‘Although in development, there are currently no prosthetic tracheal substitutes.’
    • ‘Many prosthetic hands were simple clamps or hooks driven by cables attached to harnesses slung across the shoulders and back of the wearer.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a material designed to alter a person's physical appearance temporarily.
      ‘an actor transformed by layers of prosthetic makeup’
  • 2Linguistics
    Denoting a letter or syllable added at the beginning of a word, as in Spanish escuela derived from Latin scola.


  • 1An artificial body part; a prosthesis.

    ‘three charities working there make prosthetics and help amputees to walk’
    • ‘We don't even give a second thought to using prosthetics like contact lenses, but subconsciously, we ask ourselves: does this change me?’
    • ‘In addition, in bioengineering the low-power demands of this technology are promising for use in hearing aids and optical prosthetics.’
    • ‘These include catheters and mandrels, stents, needles, cannulae, cardiac assist devices, prosthetics, and electronic circuitry.’
    • ‘This type of technology was introduced as a component of rehabilitation during the late 1950s, as a result of improved prosthetics developed for soldiers returning from war.’
    • ‘Obtaining artificial limbs is both complicated and costly, but there are organizations that offer affordable prosthetics designed specifically for this region.’
    • ‘Implants and prosthetics that substantially improve the user's quality of life were singled out for praise.’
    • ‘A better understanding of user needs and the integration of advanced-technology components led to substantial improvements in its motion-controlled wrist and hand prosthetics.’
    • ‘Golfers have a love-hate relationship with the maddening difficulty of their sport, and manufacturers will continue to employ the latest technologies to offer ever-more potent and subtle prosthetics.’
    • ‘In comparison, implanted biomaterials, prosthetics, and devices have inanimate surfaces.’
    • ‘Most people don't spend their time pushing the outer limits of their body, devising robotic prosthetics or six-legged walking machines the size of an SUV.’
    • ‘After surgery, it may be necessary to carry out some reconstructive surgery on the soft tissue or skin, or to replace bones with prosthetics (artificial replacements).’
    • ‘The world's leading futurologists have predicted the death of television and the rise of virtual entertainment complexes, neural implants and prosthetics capable of changing our bodies and our minds.’
    • ‘‘I also got up in front of the judge in full military dress, but I didn't wear my prosthetics that day,’ she said.’
    • ‘So we think of prosthetics as replacements for arms, or replacements for eyes, or replacements for ears.’
    • ‘They had to put the prosthetics on my head to match the injuries that this kid endured.’
    • ‘Many people of all ages from one group were limping because they lacked one or more limbs and had canes or prosthetics.’
    • ‘His limbs seemed to detach themselves from their sockets, as if they were prosthetics.’
    • ‘Following the surgery, Jessica learned to walk with prosthetics in record time.’
    • ‘Either way, he faces months of rehabilitation, fittings for prosthetics and an uncertain future.’
    • ‘He owned an artificial leg but prosthetics at that time were primitive and it was an uncomfortable device.’
    1. 1.1treated as singular The making and fitting of artificial body parts.
      • ‘Nothing has been seen like this in prosthetics before.’
      • ‘This branch of science is known as neural prosthetics.’
      • ‘The material might ultimately replace titanium in prosthetics and bone repair surgery.’
      • ‘Advancements in the use of anesthetic agents, infection control, blood typing, and prosthetics saved numerous lives and gave hope to the wounded.’
      • ‘This week he collected his Doctorate of Philosophy from Salford University, where he is a lecturer in prosthetics and orthotics.’
      • ‘Much of the progress in the field of prosthetics over the last fifty years has been due to cooperation between prosthetists, surgeons, engineers, and materials scientists.’
      • ‘But his civilian job as clinical manager at the prosthetics and orthotics clinic at Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center was never far from his mind.’
      • ‘I intend to be more proactive, and I intend to improve the way I walk and the look of the legs - the other guys on the expedition were far more up to speed on what prosthetics can now offer.’
      • ‘Let's say we look at robotics or prosthetics.’
      • ‘Since 1999, he has been an independent consultant in prosthetics and orthotics and therefore may have a consulting relationship with any of the companies mentioned in this article.’
      • ‘The contributions of clinical nurse specialists, speech and language therapists, dieticians, and prosthetics technicians are indispensable to optimal outcome.’
      • ‘Twentieth-century dentists continued to devote much of their practice to prosthetics, replacing missing parts of the mouth and jaw with artificial devices such as dentures and bridges.’
      • ‘The only lecturer in maxillofacial prosthetics and technology in the country is calling for urgent government funding and a high-profile recruitment campaign before all the existing technicians retire.’
      • ‘The three-year-old from Chippenham visited prosthetics specialists in Dorset last week, to have new fittings to make her false legs more comfortable.’
      • ‘Most significantly, he has put money aside for potential advances in surgery and prosthetics that would improve his quality of life.’
    2. 1.2 An artificial feature or piece of flexible material applied to a person's face or body to change their appearance temporarily.
      ‘he plays all the parts, using various wigs and prosthetics’
      ‘my prosthetic was made by a special effects makeup artist’
      • ‘He weights about 260 pounds, so the actor playing this part will need to be well padded and made up with prosthetics as he is required to be only 170 pounds in Act Two.’
      • ‘The organisers held a number of other workshops, seminars and panel discussions covering prosthetics and make-up, fight choreography, animation and claymation, acting, and how to make short films.’
      • ‘Imagination, special effects and prosthetics helped to further dramatize a true story already laden with violence.’
      • ‘Without extensive makeup or prosthetics he becomes each of the three men to such a degree that it is easy to forget the same man is in all those parts.’
      • ‘When that wasn't enough, he then smothered the man in makeup, a cumbersome costume, and ludicrous prosthetics.’
      • ‘Am I being too picky to wonder why, in one sequence, a woman can embody a male, complete with prosthetics and a suit, while in another sequence she chooses a thin, fake beard and glasses to pull off the same effect?’
      • ‘It's very personal, and for me, I knew that if I was just going to put on a fat suit and wear prosthetics, there was going to be a part of me that never really felt authentic about it.’
      • ‘Once, he seemed more comfortable with prosthetics than actors.’
      • ‘As for some of the strange casting choices, he states a belief that actors need not look like the recognizable people they are playing; as long as they have heart, the prosthetics department will do the rest.’
      • ‘You tend not to notice that the prosthetics used to age them are awful.’
      • ‘He also employed a crew of over 120 technicians divided into six departments - creatures, special effects, make-up and prosthetics, armour and weapons, miniatures and model effects.’
      • ‘There were prosthetics, too - silicone pieces which go on the skin, which absorb the light.’
      • ‘And although there are some crazy prosthetics in this one, it doesn't rely on them for the shocks and there's no ridiculous computer-generated effects - which always turn me off.’


Mid 18th century (in prosthetic (sense 2 of the adjective)): via late Latin prostheticus from Greek prosthesis: see prosthesis, -ic.