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Supine

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Supine

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:30 pm

• supine •


Pronunciation: su-painHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Bent or lying backwards with the back down facing upwards. 2. Back side down, upside down, as a hand which is palm up.

Notes: Today's word comes with a rather rich family. The adverb is supinely, and we have a choice of nouns: the rather clumsy supineness or the more elegant supinity. The verb supinate means to turn something upside down and biologists use the adjective resupinate to refer to flowers that seem to be upside down, such as orchids. The antonym of supine is prone "face down".

In Play: Today's Good Word most often refers to a face upwards position: "Harley Quinn slipped on the black ice and landed supine, though without serious injury." However, the implication of face upward is "back downward", and that interpretation works, too: "Anita Job returned home with hand supine, asking yet again for money."

Word History: English picked up supine via French from Latin supinus "turned or bent backwards; indolent, lazy". This word apparently came from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root of super "over, up" and sub "under, below" + -inus, a noun and adjective suffix. Both Latin super and sub (Greek hyper and hypo) come from the same PIE root upo, which apparently meant "over" or "under". Supine is thus related to two Latin antonyms. The same PIE root came to English as up and above. (So long as I am not permanently supine, I will be grateful to Sara Goldman for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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Re: Supine

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:00 pm

I discovered late in life the difference between supine and prone. I asumed both meant simply lying down. Don't remember exactly how I discerned the difference.
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Re: Supine

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:49 pm

When cogitating the difference between supine and prone, I am prone to be supine.
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Re: Supine

Postby MTC » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:07 am

Philip Hudson wrote:When cogitating the difference between supine and prone, I am prone to be supine.


You're in rare form, Philip!

P.S. Semi-recumbent is only a few degrees above supine: e.g.,
"Rise, sir, from this semi-recumbent posture." (Lady Bracknell to Mr. Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest.)
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Re: Supine

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:16 pm

What if you are laying on your side???
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Re: Supine

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:09 pm

Then you are using a transitive verb for an intransitive purpose. I need to learn to go with the flow, but...
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Re: Supine

Postby DavidLJ » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:17 pm

I'm reminded that back in the 1960s Stokeley Carmichael once said "The position of women in The Revolution is to be prone," to which Angela Davis archly replied "I assume he means supine."

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Re: Supine

Postby bamaboy56 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:17 pm

LukeJavan8 said
What if you are laying on your side???
. I'm guessing it would be "lying on your side", unless you're "laying" on egg. I may be wrong about that. I always confuse when to use lying and laying. More to the point, in medical terminology the term for lying on your side is lateral decubitus. Don't ask why that term happened to stick in my mind.
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Re: Supine

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:38 pm

Being the cynical, I won't ask, but I do thank you for
your response.
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Re: Supine

Postby MTC » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:34 pm

Decubitus, an interesting word, in itself:

Commonly used in medicine, the word decubitus is used to mean "lying down". It is derived from the Latin verb “decumbere” meaning "to lie down".

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decubitus)

Now we see the connection to recumbent, or semi-recumbent, as Lady Bracknell would have it.

According to a nameless person in cyberspace who may or may not know what he or she is talking about,

" Roman gentlemen considered a recumbent position the only proper position at table. The Roman dining room, name the triclinium, for its three couches flanking three sides of a large square table, was where wealthy Romans dined, using the left hand to support the neck, which left the right hand free for dining. Plebeians, (or working-class Romans) on the other hand, sat on wooden stools around a table, and slaves most probably ate sitting on the floor."

(http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 126AAsfg9q)

Transferring from the table to the forum, I find the "recumbent for office" a particularly apt expression.
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Re: Supine

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:31 pm

I have often thought reclining at table to be a superb way to partake of an enormous repast. Then one can merely flop over prone, supine, or whatever for a postprandial nap!
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Re: Supine

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:57 am

Hear, hear!
I often partake thusly in my lounger in front of the TV
or with a good book, losing the end of the show or with
the book on the floor.
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Re: Supine

Postby Slava » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:25 pm

Sue Pine is member of the Doctor's Funny Names list. She is known as: "A working girl familiar with the ceiling of every hotel room in town."
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Re: Supine

Postby Pattie » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:43 am

Don't forget the other meaning of supine (OED):
"failing to act or protest as a result of moral weakness or indolence". Often (justifiably) used of governments and/or politicians.
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Re: Supine

Postby Slava » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:23 am

Pattie wrote:Don't forget the other meaning of supine (OED):
"failing to act or protest as a result of moral weakness or indolence". Often (justifiably) used of governments and/or politicians.

Nice catch Pattie. Is this what we might call bending over backwards? Let's face it, bend too far and you're looking up, and frequently not in a particularly good way. Especially when used of governments and politicians.
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