adjective prod·i·gal \ˈprä-di-gəl\

: carelessly and foolishly spending money, time, etc.

Full Definition of PRODIGAL

:  characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure :  lavish <a prodigal feast> <prodigal outlays for her clothes>
:  recklessly spendthrift <the prodigal prince>
:  yielding abundantly :  luxuriant —often used with of <nature has been so prodigal of her bounty — H. T. Buckle>
prod·i·gal·i·ty \ˌprä-də-ˈga-lə-tē\ noun
prod·i·gal·ly \ˈprä-di-g(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of PRODIGAL

  1. <the prodigal child always spent her allowance the minute she got it>
  2. We sipped our beers and wondered at one another, at what was left of all that and of those prodigal days. —Michael Chabon, A Model World and Other Stories, 1991

Origin of PRODIGAL

Latin prodigus, from prodigere to drive away, squander, from pro-, prod- forth + agere to drive — more at pro-, agent
First Known Use: 15th century


noun prod·i·gal \ˈprä-di-gəl\

Definition of PRODIGAL

:  one who spends or gives lavishly and foolishly
:  one who has returned after an absence

Examples of PRODIGAL

  1. <the million-dollar lottery winner was such a prodigal that his windfall was exhausted after only a few years>
  2. Such a trustee had been first instituted by the praetor, to save a family from the blind havoc of a prodigal or madman… —Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1788

Origin of PRODIGAL

(see 1prodigal)
First Known Use: 1561


Next Word in the Dictionary: prodigalizePrevious Word in the Dictionary: prodentineAll Words Near: prodigal
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