prod·​i·​gy | \ ˈprä-də-jē \
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

Ringside at the Indio National Horse Show in Indio, Calif., in 1968, Mr. Williams scouted 14-year-old Melissa Cardenas, now Mihalevich, a high-jump prodigy, pitching to her mother that Melissa should train with him. New York Times, "The Equestrian Coach Who Minted Olympians, and Left a Trail of Child Molestation," 29 May 2018 The Phantom lures Christine, now a renowned diva and mother to a musical prodigy, to America with promises of a big payday. Andrea Simakis,, "Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Love Never Dies': For conductors, pleasing the composer is a labor of love," 7 Jan. 2018 The preschool teachers all thought the child a prodigy, because no other children at that school had ever been so adept or known so many words and numbers at such an age. Lauren Groff, The New Yorker, "Under the Wave," 9 July 2017 Mary’s Catholic School in Akron, Ohio, as a basketball prodigy. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "LeBron James reveals he had to 'adjust' to white people upon entering posh Catholic high school," 30 Aug. 2018 Bassey didn't grow up on the AAU circuit or as a basketball prodigy. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville hardly knew Charles Bassey, but he's a gamechanger for WKU," 14 June 2018 Kaczynski was a child math prodigy who enrolled at Harvard in 1958 at age 16 and dropped out of society 11 years later, The Washington Post wrote after his arrest in 1996. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "Austin bombings and the explosive echoes of the Unabomber," 14 Mar. 2018 The prodigy has been astounding audiences with his wheedley-needley blues rock since 12-year-old Bonamassa opened for B.B. King. Trevor Fraser,, "Joe Bonamassa returns to Dr. Phillips Center," 11 July 2018 The former Palmeiras prodigy will be eager not to be stuck on the bench with Barça next season, and is likely to move to a new side if the Catalan giants can't offer regular football., "Everton Face Battle to Sign Colombia Sensation Yerry Mina as Turkish Giants Make £27m Bid," 5 July 2018

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

19 Jan 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 \
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).


a complex dispute or argument

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