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

Keep scrolling for more

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

And then there are the gold medal hopefuls, like Nathan Chen, the American ice skating prodigy who may seek to land five quad jumps in competition, and Chloe Kim, the teenage Korean-American snowboarding phenom. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "Olympics Open With Koreas Marching Together, Offering Hope for Peace," 9 Feb. 2018 The event will also include discussions on Afrofuturism, inspired by the critical success of Marvel’s Black Panther film, and a presentation on African-American musical roots featuring teenage jazz prodigy Larriah Jackson. Barbara Harvey, sacbee, "Black History Month offers ‘theatrical trek though time,’ other events," 13 Feb. 2018 The 10-year-old skateboarding prodigy has been a threat from the very beginning. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Sky Brown and J.T. Church Won 'Dancing With the Stars Juniors'," 10 Dec. 2018 But Adam Ondra, a 23-year-old Czech climbing prodigy, yesterday completed a free ascent of the Dawn Wall in just eight days, a new record. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "A Climbing Prodigy Just Set the Record for Free-Climbing Yosemite's Dawn Wall," 22 Nov. 2016 The Rams, in Hollywood style, have lavishly spent to build a roster featuring high-profile stars and big names who can help Goff, their prodigy quarterback. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Super Bowl of Opposites," 25 Jan. 2019 On June 3, Connick Jr. was reunited with Jacob Velazquez, a 10-year-old piano prodigy from Pembroke Pines. Emily Bloch,, "Harry Connick Jr. invites 10-year-old autistic piano prodigy on stage," 21 June 2018 According to German outlet Bild, BVB are keen to replace French prodigy Ousmané Dembélé, who left the club to join Catalan giants Barcelona last summer., "Report: Borussia Dortmund eyeing Victor Wanyama, Ismaila Sarr," 14 June 2018 His introduction and ascension as a racing prodigy came instead via iRacing, a popular online simulator backed by NASCAR. Tod Palmer, kansascity, "This driver learned to race in a simulator, now he's on the cusp of NASCAR stardom | The Kansas City Star," 8 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prodigy

Listen to Our Podcast about prodigy

Statistics for prodigy

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prodigy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!