Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Ordinary speech or writing, without metrical structure.
  • n. Commonplace expression or quality.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A hymn of irregular meter sung before the Gospel.
  • intransitive v. To write prose.
  • intransitive v. To speak or write in a dull, tiresome style.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Language, particularly written language, not intended as poetry.
  • v. to write or repeat in a dull, tedious, or prosy way

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The ordinary language of men in speaking or writing; language not cast in poetical measure or rhythm; -- contradistinguished from verse, or metrical composition.
  • n. Hence, language which evinces little imagination or animation; dull and commonplace discourse.
  • n. A hymn with no regular meter, sometimes introduced into the Mass. See Sequence.
  • adj. Pertaining to, or composed of, prose; not in verse.
  • adj. Possessing or exhibiting unpoetical characteristics; plain; dull; prosaic.
  • transitive v. To write in prose.
  • transitive v. To write or repeat in a dull, tedious, or prosy way.
  • intransitive v. To write prose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The ordinary written or spoken language of man; language not conformed to poetical measure, as opposed to verse or metrical composition. See poetry.
  • n. Hence Commonplace ideas or discourse.
  • n. In liturgics, a hymn sung after the gradual, originating from a practice of setting words to the jubilatio of the alleluia.
  • n. An oration; a story.
  • Relating to or consisting of prose; prosaic; not poetic; hence, plain; commonplace.
  • To write or compose in prose: as, a fable prosed or versified.
  • To write or compose in prose.
  • To write or speak in a dull or tedious manner.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. matter of fact, commonplace, or dull expression
  • n. ordinary writing as distinguished from verse

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prōsa (ōrātiō), straightforward (discourse), feminine of prōsus, alteration of prōrsus, from prōversus, past participle of prōvertere, to turn forward : prō-, forward; see pro-1 + vertere, to turn; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Used in English since 1330, from Old French prose, the Latin word prōsa ("straightforward") from the term prōsa ōrātio ("a straightforward speech- i.e. without the ornaments of verse"). The term prōsa ("straightforward") is a colloquial form of prorsa ("straight forwards") which is the feminine form of straight forwards, from Old Latin prōvorsus ("moving straight ahead"), from pro- ("forward") + turned, form of vertō ("I turn"). Compare verse. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For practical convenience three main sorts of rhythmic prose may be distinguished: (1) _characteristic prose_, or that in which no regularity (coincidence) is easily appreciable; (2) _cadenced prose_, or that in which the regularity is perceptible, but unobtrusive, and (3) _metrical prose_, or that in which the regularity is so noticeable as to be unpleasing.

    The Principles of English Versification

  • Yasmin's (Anika Noni Rose) crime report to the police officer, in prose, is almost placid yet intense.

    Jenee Darden: HuffPost Review: Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls

  • The primary issue in prose is motive: You have to understand why the people do what they do, or else the whole shebang falls apart as illusion.

    Film and Literature

  • I think that to capture another time in prose is a gift beyond worth.

    Living in the past - minor news...

  • She says the last thing she's fallen back on is line breaks, that poetry has line breaks, and therefore she refuses to use the term prose poetry, because it finally shatters the last bit of taxonomy she has.

    A Conversation with Sonya Taaffe

  • Because I'm an art student, and a highly-visually-oriented person, one of the things I love the most about your prose is the lushness and the beautiful sentences.

    "If there really was a God here, he'd have raised a hand by now."

  • As to the author's highly mannered style, it's not so much that his prose is awkward and lumbering — which it is! — just that the man's supreme lack of command for the English language is visible in every sentence, every phrase, every word, down to the smallest phoneme.

    Tomb by Z. S. Adani

  • "Steeped in effective 19th-century archaism, yet steely in sustaining the story, the prose is as poetic as it is violent."

    Canaan's Tongue by John Wray: Book summary

  • "Martel's aims are ambitious, but the prose is amateur and the characters thin, the coy self-referentiality grates ..."

    Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel: Book summary

  • By comparing Nowlan's writing to that of John Grisham or Stephen King, Cicero must be suggesting that his prose is accessible, uncomplicated, not self-consciously "literary."

    Narrative Strategies

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.