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

Jason Kidd was an Oakland hoops prodigy ticketed for superstardom from childhood. Greg Beacham,, "Nash, Kidd, Hill Join Allen In 13-Member Hall of Fame Class," 31 Mar. 2018 The man who has spent so long atop the world that his teenage prodigy years seem an eternity ago now had an ending to consider. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "A Teenage Star Speeds France Past Argentina in World Cup," 30 June 2018 Image Nadal was a prodigy who has remained prodigious. New York Times, "Rafael Nadal Extends His Reign With an 11th French Open Title," 10 June 2018 His rise to prominence resulted in a host of European powerhouses knocking on his door, with PSG coming out as victors in the race to sign the teenage prodigy in an initial loan deal with an obligation for a permanent transfer., "PSG's Kylian Mbappe Aims Savage Swipe at Monaco Fans Who Continue to Boo Him," 20 May 2018 Quarterback Jameis Winston has been a passing prodigy since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the first player picked in the 2015 NFL Draft. Mark Inabinett,, "Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing unresolved issues with quarterback Jameis Winston," 9 Apr. 2018 Deschamps was the captain and Henry the 20-year-old prodigy on a team that won it all in Saint-Denis, then went on to claim the Euro 2000 and two Confederations Cup titles, and then a spot in the ’06 World Cup final. Brian Straus,, "Ties That Bind World Cup Semifinal Foes France, Belgium Go Beyond Thierry Henry," 9 July 2018 Born to gospel-music royalty, a child prodigy whose voice and graceful demeanor propelled her into superstar status as pop’s reigning diva, Houston ultimately died alone in a bathtub at 48, after years of abusing cocaine. Ann Hornaday, kansascity, "New Whitney Houston documentary transcends the rise-and-fall formula," 5 July 2018 Onetime child prodigy and internationally acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang will perform at 4 p.m. Nov. 18. Richard Chang,, "Classical music, dance, theater, jazz and lectures are all on tap for Musco Center's third year," 28 June 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

26 Oct 2018

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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).


to express warning or disapproval

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