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  • profligate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \PRAH-flih-gut\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: wildly extravagant : very wasteful
2
: abandoned to vice and corruption : shamelessly immoral
  • EXAMPLES

He earned quite a bit of money as a professional athlete, but squandered much of it on his profligate lifestyle.

"Considering how creatively bankrupt and stylistically profligate this second installment of the franchise is, the new movie should really be called 'Insidious: Chapter 11.'" — From a movie review by Michael O’Sullivan in The Washington Post, September 13, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

When a royal record keeper reported the "profligation of the knights" almost five centuries ago, he didn't mean the knights were wildly indulging in excesses; he meant they were thoroughly defeated in battle. There's nothing etymologically extreme there; the Latin verb "profligare," which is the root of both "profligate" and the much rarer "profligation" (meaning "ruin"), means "to strike down," "to destroy," or "to overwhelm." When the adjective "profligate" first appeared in print in English in the 1500s, it meant "overthrown" or "overwhelmed," but over time the word's meaning shifted to "immoral" or "wildly extravagant."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "noisome," our Word of the Day from September 26? The answer is …

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