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 In other words, McLean's a prodigy; a kid from Delaware with twitchy reflexes and the discipline to grind out the hours necessary to stay ahead of his competition. Luke Winkie, Washington Post, "SonicFox, the gay, furry, esports player of 2018, sounds off and won’t stop," 12 Feb. 2019 As a teenager, she was described as a child prodigy for inventing a flashlight powered by heat from your hand. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Toys to tackle climate change: A young inventor wants to inspire kids to create their own solutions," 25 Nov. 2019 The eight-part limited series will be the first authorized scripted limited series about Franklin, following her life from gospel prodigy though civil rights champion to legendary singer. Gabrielle Chung,, "First Look! Cynthia Erivo Transforms Into Aretha Franklin for Genius Anthology Series," 6 Dec. 2019 But Halt came into its own once the characters around Joe—programming prodigy Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), frustrated-genius engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) and Gordon’s visionary wife Donna (Kerry Bishé)—came into focus. Judy Berman, Time, "The 10 Best TV Shows of the 2010s," 15 Nov. 2019 Britain values the American Alliance, which achieved such prodigies under Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and again under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Conrad Black, National Review, "A Post-Post-Cold-War NATO," 13 Nov. 2019 Worldwide attention on a prodigy son, then move to Canada In March 2011, the Indianapolis Star featured the Barnetts' eldest son, Jacob, in a front-page story. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Adoptee with dwarfism accused of posing as child: Michigan bone scan says I'm 14," 6 Nov. 2019 And at the store in New York's Rockefeller Plaza, American Girl will host a party with recording artist Ciara, featuring crafts, a doll salon, dinner and a violin prodigy. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "American Girl's holiday doll costs $5,000 and is covered in Swarovski crystals," 4 Nov. 2019 Atlético Madrid are reportedly in advanced talks with Flamengo's exciting Brazilian prodigy Reinier Jesus Carvalho., "​Atlético Madrid in 'Advanced Talks' With Brazilian Starlet Reinier Jesus Carvalho," 2 Nov. 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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The first known use of prodigy was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prodigy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for prodigy


How to pronounce prodigy (audio)

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).


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