prodigal

adjective
prod·i·gal | \ ˈprä-di-gəl \

Definition of prodigal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure : lavish a prodigal feast prodigal outlays for her clothes

2 : recklessly spendthrift the prodigal prince

3 : yielding abundantly : luxuriant often used with of nature has been so prodigal of her bounty —H. T. Buckle

prodigal

noun

Definition of prodigal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one who spends or gives lavishly and foolishly

2 : one who has returned after an absence

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Other words from prodigal

Adjective

prodigality \ˌprä-də-ˈga-lə-tē \ noun
prodigally \ˈprä-di-g(ə-)lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for prodigal

Adjective

profuse, lavish, prodigal, luxuriant, lush, exuberant mean giving or given out in great abundance. profuse implies pouring forth without restraint. profuse apologies lavish suggests an unstinted or unmeasured profusion. a lavish party prodigal implies reckless or wasteful lavishness threatening to lead to early exhaustion of resources. prodigal spending luxuriant suggests a rich and splendid abundance. a luxuriant beard lush suggests rich, soft luxuriance. a lush green lawn exuberant implies marked vitality or vigor in what produces abundantly. an exuberant imagination

Examples of prodigal in a Sentence

Adjective

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 Mr. Bulstrode replied without haste, but also without hesitation. "I am grieved, though, I confess, not surprised by this information, Mr. Lydgate. For my own part, I regretted your alliance with my brother-in-law's family, which has always been of prodigal habits, and which has already been much indebted to me for sustainment in its present position … " —George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872 The prodigal use of antibiotics in animals has the same consequence as their overprescription for human beings. —Cullen Murphy, New York Times Book Review, 10 June l984 the prodigal child always spent her allowance the minute she got it

Noun

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 the million-dollar lottery winner was such a prodigal that his windfall was exhausted after only a few years

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Midway through the book, Ames is surprised when Gilead’s prodigal son returns from a 20-year absence: Jack Boughton, whose father is the town’s Presbyterian minister and Ames’s best friend. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "What two fictional Gileads can teach us about America in 2018," 12 July 2018 Purdue at Nebraska, Sept. 29 — Nebraska figures to be better this year with prodigal son Scott Frost in charge. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "Ranking Indiana's top 50 college football games in 2018," 11 July 2018 The 47-year-old in the natty waistcoat is the prodigal son, the underestimated man, whose story of redemption has inspired a nation. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Win or lose in the World Cup, England has a national hero in Coach Gareth Southgate," 11 July 2018 Splice and River Revival nicely bookend Brennan’s life, which follows a prodigal-son-type path. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Houston man splices together a record label," 3 July 2018 When the Giants reached out, Sandoval jumped at the chance to return home, a prodigal son chastened over his misdeeds. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Prodigal Panda: Pablo Sandoval enjoying renaissance with Giants," 29 June 2018 The movie, which was released this month, stars Rachel McAdams as Esti, an Orthodox Jewish woman, and Rachel Weisz as Ronit, the prodigal daughter who returns home after her father, the rabbi, dies. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Circle of Trust," 30 Apr. 2018 The Spurs have a decision to make regarding Kawhi Leonard, their prodigal superstar who played in only nine games this season while dealing with a troublesome quadriceps injury. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs go down, swinging," 25 Apr. 2018 The trickle shows no sign of abating as the idea of President Trump's prodigal Cabinet takes hold among reporters, watchdog groups and the public. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Trump Cabinet officials' spending is a story that won't go away," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a youth, Mr. Graham, now 65, was the prodigal of the Graham family, a college dropout fond of alcohol. Elizabeth Dias, New York Times, "The Evangelical Fight to Win Back California," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prodigal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prodigal

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prodigal

Adjective

Latin prodigus, from prodigere to drive away, squander, from pro-, prod- forth + agere to drive — more at pro-, agent

Noun

see prodigal entry 1

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Phrases Related to prodigal

prodigal son/daughter

Statistics for prodigal

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Time Traveler for prodigal

The first known use of prodigal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for prodigal

prodigal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prodigal

: carelessly and foolishly spending money, time, etc.

prodigal

adjective
prod·i·gal | \ ˈprä-di-gəl \

Kids Definition of prodigal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: carelessly wasteful a prodigal spender

prodigal

noun

Kids Definition of prodigal (Entry 2 of 2)

: somebody who wastes money carelessly

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More from Merriam-Webster on prodigal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prodigal

Spanish Central: Translation of prodigal

Nglish: Translation of prodigal for Spanish Speakers

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