prodigal

adjective
prod·​i·​gal | \ ˈprä-di-gəl How to pronounce prodigal (audio) \

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 ofnature 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 How to pronounce prodigality (audio) \ noun
prodigally \ ˈprä-​di-​g(ə-​)lē How to pronounce prodigally (audio) \ 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 That prompted headlines about the return of the prodigal son. Victor Mather, New York Times, "Zlatan Ibrahimovic Returns to Milan; Fans Return to Taiwan Baseball," 11 May 2020 Even if the pandemic were to revive the religious impulse, would-be prodigal sons won’t be able to attend services. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Coronavirus Tests America’s Social Capacity," 21 Mar. 2020 And that reason has a lot to do with Highlands’ decorated chef/owner and Alabama prodigal son Frank Stitt, who’s aptly nicknamed the Father of Southern Gourmet. al, "These are the 10 best restaurants in Birmingham in 2020," 3 Mar. 2020 Though only 26, this prodigal son is rumored to have once led the notorious Hellfire Club, whose members supposedly worshiped both Satan and Venus. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "First published in 1924, ‘Still She Wished for Company’ makes for a delicious, if bittersweet Valentine’s Day treat," 12 Feb. 2020 Other Flemish artists worked there, too, including Jan Wildens and Lucas and Cornelis de Wael (whose series based on the story of the prodigal son will be on view). Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "Genoa and the Baroque: The most spectacular art you’ve never heard of," 29 Jan. 2020 Tyson said of the prodigal son taking his inheritance early, wasting it, then returning home to throw himself at the mercy of his father. al, "Kanye West raps at Scott Dawson event in Pigeon Forge," 19 Jan. 2020 The lack of closure on Neymar's prodigal son story was a severe, if not unexpected, anti-climax. SI.com, "Introducing Pedri: Barcelona & Spain's Next, Next Wonderkid," 15 Oct. 2019 This compelling feature story recounts the relationship between Son and Neumann, whose character arc from prodigal son to pariah is propelled by his flawed instinct that he was born for this. Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2019: Business Writing," 18 Dec. 2019 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 and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for prodigal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prodigal

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prodigal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prodigal. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for prodigal

prodigal

adjective
How to pronounce prodigal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prodigal

formal : carelessly and foolishly spending money, time, etc.

prodigal

adjective
prod·​i·​gal | \ ˈprä-di-gəl How to pronounce prodigal (audio) \

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

Comments on prodigal

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