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

Definition of prodigy

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

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 Gooding as communications prodigy Noyta Uhura and Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel. Zack Handlen, Variety, 2 May 2022 At the time, a Los Angeles Times profile of Moss described her as a ballet prodigy with a perfect arabesque. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 29 Apr. 2022 Lugt is to be seen as a prodigy and force of nature but in scholarship, not in music, and his Mennonite work ethic was of Olympian breadth and depth. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 19 Mar. 2022 Chaim was regarded as a prodigy as a child, memorizing whole sections of Torah and analyzing their meaning and significance in remarkably mature fashion. Joseph Berger, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2022 Back in the building where the national spotlight first began to shine on him as a high school prodigy, James took a moment to reflect. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 19 Feb. 2022 Tommy and Wilson set out to tell a story that focused on Franklin’s coming of age as a musical prodigy and as a young Black woman finding her voice amid industry execs and civil rights titans. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Jan. 2022 No, the 39-year-old prodigy clearly is not scared, and give him credit for that. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Francis Vendetti is a seventeen-year-old guitar prodigy struggling under the shadow of his late uncle, a Bob Dylan-like legend. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of prodigy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

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

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prodigy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prodigy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on prodigy

Nglish: Translation of prodigy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prodigy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prodigy


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