Definition of prostrate in English:



  • 1Lying stretched out on the ground with one's face downward.

    • ‘A few of the medics rushed over to kneel and check the prostrate figures.’
    • ‘Her eyes immediately fell upon the lone prostrate figure on the bed.’
    • ‘For my part I was silent on the cause of my own absent-mindedness - the lasses had by now vanished into a studio - and, whilst accepting the proffered hand with which to rise from my prostrate position, observed the man.’
    • ‘I once had to step over his not inconsiderable prostrate body to get to my table, after he had clearly been ‘enjoying’ a rather ‘lively’ lunch.’
    • ‘The contact looked innocuous enough but it left the big Glasgow prop prostrate on the ground, his body convulsing in a way that ensured the medics lost no time going to his aid.’
    • ‘The Ballroom went instantly silent as everyone stared at my father's prostrate figure.’
    • ‘How long will the mainstream media lie prostrate for this kind of insulting and deeply contemptuous nonsense, which weakens our nation and leaves us more vulnerable to attack than we were before?’
    • ‘This is a fascinating, frustrating, entertaining and perplexing voyage through his psyche: a posthumous psychoanalysis in which the prostrate subject never gets the chance to sit up and protest.’
    • ‘I don't actually suffer from it in real life, but in dreams I often find myself lying prostrate and petrified on top of a building, afraid to stand up.’
    • ‘To the left of the prostrate face-up male figure appears a female figure with a highly piled coiffure.’
    • ‘While strolling, I caught sight of a half-naked, deformed figure lying prostrate on the pavement.’
    • ‘Interestingly, Rembrandt overpainted the figure of a prostrate woman at Christ's feet with the present kneeling figure.’
    • ‘Carrying her prostrate figure, he straightened and threw our direction one triumphant look before encasing them both with his majestic wing and fading into nothingness.’
    • ‘Sometimes he was on my legs, other times he was stretched out prostrate across my torso.’
    • ‘Some of the people around me lay prostrate on the ground, while others milled around, looking, pointing and whispering to each other.’
    • ‘According to a storekeeper, at about 9: 10 pm, a man was spotted prostrate on the ground by a police car.’
    • ‘I soon settled in for some rigorous study, busying myself with my alternately prone and prostrate experiments.’
    • ‘Rich in texture, colour and clarity, images of laughing Tibetan monks and prostrate beggars bring you directly into the lives of his subjects and have you almost living along with them.’
    • ‘And when the Earth itself has been laid prostrate?’
    • ‘The sermon was accompanied by such divine power that the whole congregation, except one man, fell prostrate upon the floor, and voiced their agony under conviction of sin, in such loud outcries that the preacher was forced to stop.’
    prone, lying flat, lying down, flat, stretched out, spreadeagled, sprawling, horizontal, recumbent, on one's front
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    1. 1.1[predicative]Completely overcome or helpless, especially with illness, distress, or exhaustion.
      ‘his wife was prostrate with shock’
      • ‘So many women would have been hysterical and prostrate with grief by this stage.’
      overwhelmed, overcome, overpowered, brought to one's knees, crushed, stunned, dazed
      worn out, exhausted, fatigued, tired out, overtired, weary, sapped, dog-tired, spent, drained, played out, debilitated, enervated, low
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    2. 1.2Botany Growing along the ground.
      • ‘In that area, natural Atriplex cover was very low, with only some prostrate plants growing on creek banks.’
      • ‘The duckweeds grow in a prostrate orientation upon the surface of water and rely on the buoyant forces of their environment for support, rather than lignified structures.’
      • ‘P. myriophylla is a woody subshrub that forms patches of prostrate or decumbent stems often rooting at the nodes.’
      • ‘Older studies noted that runners, stolons or prostrate stems of many plants became more erect when shaded.’
      • ‘They are decumbent, not prostrate, so that the young branch tips point upward.’
      trailing, creeping, straggling, vining
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  • 1Lay oneself flat on the ground face downward, especially in reverence or submission.

    ‘she prostrated herself on the bare floor of the church’
    • ‘Probably, like Lot, he's prostrating himself, falling on his face to the earth.’
    • ‘When Roshi came out of his room to wash, the monk was prostrating himself outside the door.’
    • ‘Another (even greater) problem was that she was unwilling to submit to her dictates or prostrate herself in abject submission.’
    • ‘The natives who came to see them off prostrated themselves on the ground and cried in farewell.’
    • ‘The hyena prostrated herself to the earth, throwing herself on her knees, bending her paws, moving her head up and down, looking up into his face, as though she were giving him her promise.’
    • ‘Did all the many pairs of eyes that must have looked at this sorry text before publication belong to people too busy prostrating themselves in deference to the living treasure who wrote it?’
    • ‘In Tibet, he goes on a high altitude pilgrimage, a kora or circumambulation, around the very sacred Mt. Kailash, with devotees prostrating themselves on their stomachs around the base of the mountain in a journey that can last for weeks.’
    • ‘The president was overpowered by the General's position, and prostrated himself as flat as a spider in a deep bow, and apologized humbly.’
    • ‘They throw their crowns before this throne and prostrate themselves as servants of this Lord, singing.’
    • ‘The troll echoed the sentiment and prostrated himself on the floor.’
    • ‘Some of the men had prostrated themselves flat on their faces, arms outstretched towards the Goddess.’
    • ‘Still, however, a Buddhist will prostrate himself and bow his head to the floor three times in front of a Buddha image or a monk as a sign of respect.’
    • ‘But now it's clear that what I should have been doing is prostrating myself on the carpet and having the word ‘doormat’ tattooed on my backside.’
    • ‘He has been allowed to keep his sword but the next time he swings it around his head and demands that opponents fall down and prostrate themselves in front of him, the sound of muffled laughter will be difficult to suppress.’
    • ‘This is complete nonsense, as anyone who has mistakenly prostrated themselves before the person of their dreams will confirm.’
    • ‘Your teacher will not wear curious robes or expect you to prostrate yourself every time he or she enters the room.’
    • ‘‘You are Canada's pride. You are Canada to me,’ he uttered, virtually prostrating himself in front of them in hopes of scoring some elusive Alberta votes.’
    • ‘He spent untold hours in prayer, prostrating himself on the floor of the church at night.’
    • ‘In fact the whole country has seen him on television prostrating himself in front of the Prime Minister's residence, but public memory is short and as you said, he is no celebrity.’
    • ‘He prostrated himself, but his trivial performance only brought on more tears and anger.’
    throw oneself flat, throw oneself down, lie down, stretch oneself out, bow low, throw oneself at someone's feet
    measure one's length
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  • 2(of distress, exhaustion, or illness) reduce (someone) to extreme physical weakness.

    ‘she was prostrated by a migraine that she could scarcely get up the stairs’
    • ‘He never doubted, and gratefully recognized, Mary's own contribution to the device of the joint monarchy, and her death on 27 December 1694 prostrated him for months.’
    • ‘She quickly ran up to him in time to catch him in her arms and with horror heard the wild scream of the spirit that racked and prostrated the unhappy man.’
    • ‘Drenched in sweat, they are prostrated by fatigue, ‘sucking in hot air like bellows and breathless in the suffocating heat’.’
    overwhelm, overcome, overpower, bring someone to their knees, crush, devastate, make helpless, paralyse, lay low, make powerless, debilitate, incapacitate, weaken, enfeeble, devitalize, enervate, handicap, immobilize, hamstring, make impotent, wear out, exhaust, tire out, fatigue, weary, make weary, drain, sap, wash out, take it out of, tax, overtax, undermine
    knacker, whack, frazzle, do in, knock out, fag out
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Middle English: from Latin prostratus thrown down past participle of prosternere, from pro- before + sternere lay flat.