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From Middle English supin, from Latin supinum, supinus. Grammatical meaning is from the phrase supinum verbum.


  • IPA(key): /ˈs(j)uː.paɪn/, /suˈpiːn/


supine (comparative more supine, superlative most supine)

  1. Lying on its back, reclined
    • 2011 December 15, Felicity Cloake, “How to cook the perfect nut roast”, in Guardian[1]:
      A single slice of this could leave you supine in front of the Queen's speech without even the wherewithal to reach for the remote control.
  2. Leaning backward, or inclining with exposure to the sun; sloping; inclined.
    • Dryden
      If the vine / On rising ground be placed, or hills supine.
  3. Negligent; heedless; listless; lethargic; indifferent.
    • Woodward
      He became pusillanimous and supine, and openly exposed to any temptation.
    • 1788, Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, published 1863, page 237:
      If the power of affording it be placed under the direction of the Union, there will be no danger of a supine and listless inattention to the dangers of a neighbor.
    • 2009, Elliott, Mark, “Torture, Deportation and Extra-Judicial Detention: Instruments of the “War on Terror””, in Cambridge Law Journal, volume 68, number 2, pages 245–246:
      […] Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 […] provided for the indefinite detention without trial of foreign nationals reasonably suspected by the Home Secretary of involvement in international terrorism. In an attempt to head off challenges to that scheme as a violation of the right to personal liberty under Article 5 ECHR, the UK invoked Article 15, which permits derogation from certain rights (including liberty but not the right to be free from torture) if strictly necessary to answer demands imposed, inter alia, by a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation”. In A v. UK, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that Part 4 of the 2001 Act was not a strictly necessary response to the acknowledged emergency evidenced by the attacks in the USA and that the detention of the applicants was in breach of Article 5. This conclusion is noteworthy given that the European Court has in the past adopted a deferential if not supine approach when assessing the legality of derogations under Article 15.
  4. Passive
    • 1748, David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral, London: Oxford University Press: 1973, page 34,
      Nothing, therefore, can be more contrary than such a philosophy to the supine indolence of the mind.
    (Can we add an example for this sense?)



Derived terms[edit]



supine (plural supines)

  1. (grammar) A type of verbal noun.
  2. (grammar) Swedish: verbform in combination with an inflection of ha to form the present perfect and pluperfect


See also[edit]




supine f pl

  1. Feminine plural of adjective supino.




  1. vocative masculine singular of supinus