Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


to discontinue a session of something, for example parliament

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The verb prorogue is a borrowing from French and Latin that was first used in English in the early 15th century. The current meaning dates from the middle of that century. The word’s Latin root ‘prorogare’ means to prolong, extend, defer or postpone.


To prorogue a session of something such as a parliament means to suspend it for a time, rather than ending it completely, for which the verb ‘dissolve‘ is used. It is standard practice for the UK parliament to be prorogued for a few days before a new parliamentary session starts with the Queen’s Speech. Prorogue was submitted to Macmillan’s crowdsourced Open Dictionary by a user in Canada back in 2010, not long after Canada’s then prime minister had asked the Governor General to prorogue the country’s parliament. Prorogue is generally a little-used word outside technical discussions of politics, as is the related noun prorogation. Prorogue occurs less than 1000 times in the corpus used to compile Macmillan Dictionary, while prorogation is even less frequent. Uses of both terms will have soared, however, with the news that the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson is to prorogue parliament for five weeks this autumn, the longest period for which the UK parliament has been suspended since 1945.


“Harper called the Governor General and asked her to prorogue Parliament until March 3, which she did.”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

postpone, put off, suspend, defer

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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