pro·​di·​gious prə-ˈdi-jəs How to pronounce prodigious (audio)
: causing amazement or wonder
: extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous
: resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual
obsolete : being an omen : portentous
prodigiously adverb
prodigiousness noun

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Prodigious, monstrous, tremendous, and stupendous all mean extremely impressive. Prodigious suggests marvelousness exceeding belief, usually in something that is felt as going far beyond a previous maximum of goodness, greatness, intensity, or size ("acrobats performing prodigious aerial feats"). Monstrous implies a departure from the normal in size, form, or character ("a monstrous billboard"); it can also suggest that someone or something is ugly, cruel, or vicious ("a monstrous criminal"; "a monstrous crime"). Tremendous and stupendous both imply a power, the former to terrify or awe ("the singer has tremendous talent"), the latter to stun or astound ("the young cast gave a stupendous performance"). Prodigious and the related noun prodigy derive from the Latin prodigium, meaning "omen" or "monster"; at one time, both words were used in English to refer to portents, or omens, but these senses are now considered obsolete.

Choose the Right Synonym for prodigious

monstrous, prodigious, tremendous, stupendous mean extremely impressive.

monstrous implies a departure from the normal (as in size, form, or character) and often carries suggestions of deformity, ugliness, or fabulousness.

the monstrous waste of the project

prodigious suggests a marvelousness exceeding belief, usually in something felt as going far beyond a previous maximum (as of goodness, greatness, intensity, or size).

made a prodigious effort and rolled the stone aside

tremendous may imply a power to terrify or inspire awe.

the tremendous roar of the cataract

stupendous implies a power to stun or astound, usually because of size, numbers, complexity, or greatness beyond description.

a stupendous volcanic eruption

Examples of prodigious in a Sentence

Graceful afield and afoot in his youth, he bullied into a prodigious slugger in his final years. Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 28 July 2003
She had what was known in those days as a hollow leg, meaning she was able to drink prodigious amounts of liquor without getting drunk, or so she thought. Vanity Fair, July 2000
… Isaac [Newton] was allowed to resume at Grantham and go on to Cambridge, where … he was to remain for nearly thirty-five secluded, prodigious years. John Updike, New Yorker, 30 Mar. 1998
stage magicians performing prodigious feats for rapt audiences a prodigious supply of canned food kept in the basement for emergencies
Recent Examples on the Web Among them are Helion Energy, for developing fusion reactors that could produce prodigious amounts of energy from the hydrogen in seawater, and Retro Biosciences, which aims to add 10 years to the human lifespan using biotechnology. Matt O'Brien, Fortune, 18 Nov. 2023 The Holy Grail of Ferraris has sold for a fittingly prodigious amount of money. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 Nov. 2023 No, the linguist was a woman, and her black hair, streaked with gray, always gathered in a tight bun, seemed involved in her small body’s perfect posture, a kind of counterweight to her prodigious brain. Ben Lerner, Harper's Magazine, 3 Nov. 2023 Gauff’s shortcomings were hardly a mystery: a shaky forehand and serve in tight moments; a struggle to maximize her prodigious strengths — her speed and ability to cover the court, her fitness, her blazing backhand, a laserlike first serve. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2023 Over the years, her public persona often overshadowed her prodigious output, especially in Britain, where she was stalked by rapacious tabloids. Nancy Hass, New York Times, 2 Nov. 2023 Yes, the exhibition is a retrospective in spirit, collecting over 10 years worth of the artist’s work in one place, and works as a brilliant showcase of one of the most prodigious contemporary artists working today. Seth Combs, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Sep. 2023 The torque is so prodigious (41 pound-feet more than a Corvette's), and the torque curve so flat, that the E55 pulls hard all the way through each gear, producing a concerted thrust like that of a 757 on a takeoff run. Barry Winfield, Car and Driver, 14 Aug. 2023 Luckily, as one of the most prodigious actors of her generation, that’s Sweeney’s job. Ellise Shafer, Variety, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prodigious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see prodigy

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of prodigious was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near prodigious

Cite this Entry

“Prodigious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​di·​gious prə-ˈdij-əs How to pronounce prodigious (audio)
: exciting amazement or wonder
performs prodigious feats
: very big : huge
a prodigious amount of food
prodigiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on prodigious

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