prod·​i·​gy | \ ˈprä-də-jē How to pronounce prodigy (audio) \
plural prodigies

Definition of prodigy

1a : a portentous event : omen
b : something extraordinary or inexplicable
2a : an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event
b : a highly talented child or youth

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Did You Know?

Is a prodigy a genius or a monster - or both? Nowadays, it's the talent that shines through, but back in the 15th century the word's meaning was more strongly influenced by that of its Latin ancestor, prodigium, meaning "omen" or "monster." Back then, a prodigy could be any strange or weird thing that might be an omen of things to come. Even in modern English, the word sometimes refers to an extraordinary deed or accomplishment. P.G. Wodehouse used that sense when he described how a character named Pongo Twistleton was "performing prodigies with the [billiard] cue."

Examples of prodigy in a Sentence

a new drug that is being hailed as the latest prodigy of the medical world

Recent Examples on the Web

This issue is all different while still keeping our NYLON spirit alive: Telling the story of digital prodigies who are redefining the future of being a Teen Superstar. Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "Billie Eilish angry after magazine depicts her as 'shirtless' and robot-like on cover," 30 Aug. 2019 In the play, the 47-year-old Schreck reconsiders her childhood as an oratorical prodigy from Wenatchee, Washington, who won speaking competitions by exalting the U.S. Constitution. David Kamp, Vogue, "Heidi Schreck Is Giving New Meaning to Political Theater," 15 July 2019 As a soccer prodigy, her natural abilities meant having a childhood different than most. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Lake County News-Sun, "Seeking Kiki: Stevenson's Kalyssa Van Zanten is the 2019 News-Sun Girls Soccer Player of the Year," 11 June 2019 To call them prodigies would be stretching the definition of the word beyond recognition, as their only discernible talents are posing for pictures, doing handstands and shooting silly string into crowds. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Jawline’ examines the fleeting fame of live streams," 21 Aug. 2019 Holy Ship Wrecked 2020 promises sets from recent Grammy-winner Diplo, modern house hero Chris Lake, French magic maker Madeon, deep house visionary Lane 8, dance-pop prodigy Whethan, dubstep-innovator turned house hero Skream and more. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Diplo, Claude VonStroke, Chris Lake & More Set For Holy Ship Wrecked 2020: Full Lineup," 26 July 2019 Taylor Swift went from unknown country music prodigy to a pop music super star over the past couple of years. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Taylor Swift's Net Worth Will Make You Wish You Made This Much in Your Wildest Dreams," 24 July 2019 If Ms Gauff advances further, her likely third-round opponent will be the 17th seed, Madison Keys, a one-time prodigy who recorded her first US Open win in 2011 as a 16-year-old. J.s., The Economist, "Cori Gauff announces herself at Wimbledon," 2 July 2019 The Quiet One A reluctant teen golf prodigy turns to prayer when his pro-golfer dad is seriously injured in a car accident. Matt Cooper,, "L.A. movie openings, June 16-23: ‘Toy Story 4,’ ‘Child’s Play’ and more," 16 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prodigy.' 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 prodigy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prodigy

Middle English, from Latin prodigium omen, monster, from pro-, prod- + -igium (akin to aio I say) — more at adage

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Statistics for prodigy

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for prodigy

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

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More Definitions for prodigy



English Language Learners Definition of prodigy

: a young person who is unusually talented in some way


prod·​i·​gy | \ ˈprä-də-jē How to pronounce prodigy (audio) \
plural prodigies

Kids Definition of prodigy

1 : an unusually talented child
2 : an amazing event or action : wonder

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Comments on prodigy

What made you want to look up prodigy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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