Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Entry: supine (adj.)

In context:  "Trying at the same time to give his bad skin some quality UV and a good chill's chap, the grad-work-study engineer of M.I.T.'s WYYY-109 lies bare-chested on a silvery NASA-souvenir space blanket, supine and cruciform at about the angle of a living-room recliner on the Public Gardens' far hillside."

Definition: Lying on one's back, lying with the face or front upward; (loosely) lying down, recumbent. Used also of the position.

Other: A very old word, around 1425 CE.  You can follow its development into several languages:

Etymology:  < classical Latin supīnuslying face upwards, flat on one's back, (of the hands ) turned palm upwards, (of the head or face) upturned, thrown back, (of terrain) flat, low-lying, sloping down, (of people) passive, sluggish < the stem of super above (see super- prefix) and superus higher (see superior adj.) + -īnus -ine suffix1.

Compare Old French sovin(11th cent. in Rashi; Middle French souvin), Anglo-Norman and Middle French supin, Middle French suppin(early 13th cent.), Old Occitan sobin, sopin(11th cent.), Catalan supí, Spanish supino(16th cent.), Portuguese supino(14th cent. as sobinho), Italian supino(early 14th cent.).
N.E.D. (1917) gives the pronunciation as (siūpəi·n) /s(j)uːˈpaɪn/ , occas. (siū·pəin) /ˈs(j)uːpaɪn/ . In British English, pronunciation with stress on the first syllable became usual during the first half of the 20th cent.; in U.S. English, stress on the second remains more usual.

SNOOT score 1
Page: 622

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

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