AskDefine | Define supine

Dictionary Definition

supine adj
1 lying face upward [syn: resupine]
2 offering no resistance; "resistless hostages"; "No other colony showed such supine, selfish helplessness in allowing her own border citizens to be mercilessly harried"- Theodore Roosevelt [syn: resistless, unresisting]

User Contributed Dictionary



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


  • IPA: /ˈsjuːpaɪn/, /supiːn/


  1. Lying on its back
  2. Sloping or inclined
  3. Lethargic; blameworthy indifference
  4. Passive
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 34.
      Nothing, therefore, can be more contrary than such a philosophy to the supine indolence of the mind


(lying back)

Derived terms


  • Portuguese: inclinado
  • Portuguese: letárgico
  • Portuguese: passivo


supine (plural supines)
  1. A type of verbal noun

See also

Extensive Definition

For other uses, see Supine (disambiguation).
In grammar, a supine is a form of verbal noun used in some languages.

In Latin

In Latin there are two supines, I. and II. They are originally the accusative and dative or ablative forms of verbal noun in the fourth declension, respectively. The first supine is often used as the fourth principal part of Latin verbs and ends in -um. It has two uses. The first is with verbs of motion and indicates purpose. For example, "Gladiatores adfuerunt pugnatum" is Latin for "The gladiators have come to fight", and "Legati gratulatum et cubitum venerunt" is Latin for "The messengers came to congratulate and to sleep." The second usage is in the Future Passive Infinitive, for example "amatum iri" means "to be about to be loved". It mostly appears in indirect statements, for example "credidit se necatum iri", meaning "he thought that he was going to be killed".
The second supine can be used with adjectives but it is rarely used and only a small number of verbs traditionally take it. It is derived from the dativus finalis which expresses purpose or the ablativus respectivus which indicates in what respect. It is the same as the first supine minus the final -m and with lengthened "u". "Mirabile dictū", for example, means "amazing to say", where dictū is a supine form.

In other languages

Outside of Latin, a supine is a non-finite verb form whose use resembles that of the Latin supine.
The English supine is the bare infinitive (the verb's plain form) introduced by the particle to; for this reason it is often called the full infinitive or to-infinitive.
The Romanian supine generally corresponds to an English construction like for doing; for example, "Această carte este de citit" means "This book is for reading."
The Slovene supine is used after verbs of movement. See Slovenian verbs. The supine was used in Proto-Slavic but it was replaced in most Slavic languages by the infinitive in later periods. In Czech, the contemporary infinitive ending -t (formerly -ti) originates from the supine.
In Swedish the supine is used with an auxiliary verb to produce some compound verb forms. See Swedish grammar. This also applies to Norwegian where the form supine is called perfektum.
supine in Czech: Supinum
supine in German: Supinum
supine in Esperanto: Supino
supine in French: Supin
supine in Latin: Supinum
supine in Dutch: Supinum
supine in Polish: Supinum
supine in Portuguese: Supino (gramática)
supine in Russian: Супин
supine in Swedish: Supinum
supine in Ukrainian: Супін

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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