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[prohz] /proʊz/
the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.
matter-of-fact, commonplace, or dull expression, quality, discourse, etc.
Liturgy. a hymn sung after the gradual, originating from a practice of setting words to the jubilatio of the alleluia.
of, in, or pertaining to prose.
commonplace; dull; prosaic.
verb (used with object), prosed, prosing.
to turn into or express in prose.
verb (used without object), prosed, prosing.
to write or talk in a dull, matter-of-fact manner.
1300-50; Middle English < Middle French < Latin prōsa (ōrātiō) literally, straightforward (speech), feminine of prōsus, for prōrsus, contraction of prōversus, past participle of prōvertere to turn forward, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + vertere to turn
Related forms
proselike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prose
  • It's a comic book kind of story anchored in novelistic prose, so it's definitely my kind of read.
  • It includes teaching prose fiction and non-fiction as well as poetry.
  • Public performances and popular prose works were necessary distractions from the writing of poetry.
  • Her prose is luminous, often deeply personal, and transporting in the pan-sensory way that only the best travel writing can be.
  • Stein had interviewed dozens of survivors, tracked down a number of original records and rendered the story in taut prose.
  • They do not write behind a veil of careful academic prose that weighs and measures each sentence.
  • His prose is clear and concise, which unfortunately is not the norm in science writing.
  • The book has burned up the charts, relatively speaking, for such an unapologetically cerebral piece of prose.
  • But, if you're in the mood to read some great scientific prose and dive deep into an idea, these old papers can be a delight.
  • Because proposals live or die not on the beauty of your prose, but on the structure of your argument.
British Dictionary definitions for prose


spoken or written language as in ordinary usage, distinguished from poetry by its lack of a marked metrical structure
a passage set for translation into a foreign language
commonplace or dull discourse, expression, etc
(RC Church) a hymn recited or sung after the gradual at Mass
(modifier) written in prose
(modifier) matter-of-fact
to write or say (something) in prose
(intransitive) to speak or write in a tedious style
Derived Forms
proselike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin phrase prōsa ōrātiō straightforward speech, from prorsus prosaic, from prōvertere to turn forwards, from pro-1 + vertere to turn
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
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Word Origin and History for prose

c.1300, "story, narration," from Old French prose (13c.), from Latin prosa oratio "straightforward or direct speech" (without the ornaments of verse), from prosa, fem. of prosus, earlier prorsus "straightforward, direct," from Old Latin provorsus "(moving) straight ahead," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + vorsus "turned," past participle of vertere "to turn" (see verse).

"Good prose, to say nothing of the original thoughts it conveys, may be infinitely varied in modulation. It is only an extension of metres, an amplification of harmonies, of which even the best and most varied poetry admits but few." [Walter Savage Landor, "Imaginary Conversations"]
Meaning "prose writing; non-poetry" is from mid-14c. The sense of "dull or commonplace expression" is from 1680s, out of earlier sense "plain expression" (1560s). Those who lament the want of an English agent noun to correspond to poet might try prosaist (1776), proser (1620s), or Frenchified prosateur (1880), though the first two in their day also acquired in English the secondary sense "dull writer."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prose in Technology

1. PROblem Solution Engineering. Numerical problems including differentiation and integration. "Computing in Calculus", J. Thames, Research/Development 26(5) (May 1975).
2. A constraints-and-sequencing system similar to Kaleidoscope. "Reflexive Constraints for Dynamic Knowledge Bases", P. Berlandier et al in Proc First Intl CS Conf '88: AI: Theory and Appls, Dec 1988.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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