profligate

adjective
prof·li·gate | \ ˈprä-fli-gət , -ˌgāt \

Definition of profligate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wildly extravagant profligate spending

2 : completely given up to dissipation and licentiousness : shamelessly immoral leading a profligate life

profligate

noun
prof·li·gate | \ ˈprä-fli-gət , -ˌgāt \

Definition of profligate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person given to wildly extravagant and usually grossly self-indulgent expenditure

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Other words from profligate

Adjective

profligately adverb

Don't Get Overwhelmed By the History of profligate

Adjective

When a royal record keeper reported the "profligation of the knights" almost five centuries ago, he didn't mean the knights were wildly indulging in excesses; he meant they were thoroughly defeated in battle. There's nothing etymologically extreme there; the Latin verb profligare, which is the root of both profligate and the much rarer profligation (meaning "ruin"), means "to strike down," "to destroy," or "to overwhelm." When the adjective profligate first appeared in print in English it meant "overthrown" or "overwhelmed," (a sense that is now obsolete) but over time the word's meaning shifted to "immoral" or "wildly extravagant."

Examples of profligate in a Sentence

Adjective

In a curious way, part of the genius of America has been a collective forgetfulness, a talent for somehow outdistancing problems in a headlong race toward something new. It is a form of heedlessness, perhaps, blithe and profligate, but also an exuberant forward spin that may spare people the exhausting obligations of revenge. —Lance Morrow, Time, 4 Apr. 1988 Sure, the trade deficit symbolizes a profligate America, consuming more than it produces and spending more than it has. —Philip Revzin, Wall Street Journal, 17 Mar. 17, 1988 Everyone seemed fond of statistics, but the counterterrorism experts were especially profligate with numbers. —Kurt Andersen, Time, 24 June 1985 She was very profligate in her spending. profligate movie producers hoping to create the next blockbuster

Noun

"Why did you ask that scoundrel, Rawdon Crawley, to dine?" said the Rector to his lady, as they were walking home through the park. "I don't want the fellow. He looks down upon us country people as so many blackamoors.  … Besides, he's such an infernal character—he's a gambler—he's a drunkard—he's a profligate in every way." —William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848 a profligate who could not really afford the grand style he maintained at Monticello, Jefferson died deeply in debt a drunken profligate, he was given to wretched excess in every aspect of his life
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In February 2018 — when the Rob Porter scandal brought public attention to the White House’s profligate abuse of interim security clearances — Kushner still hadn’t secured the bureau’s seal of approval. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The CIA Still Doesn’t Trust Jared Kushner With Its Most Sensitive Intelligence," 13 July 2018 Further, profligate lending can worsen relations with other countries rather than help them. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "China Taps the Brakes on Its Global Push for Influence," 29 June 2018 The nine-figure statement of intent was widely derided as profligate, showing that Netflix might be a source of cash but scarcely offered serious competition. The Economist, "Netflix is moving television beyond time-slots and national markets," 28 June 2018 The former West Ham youth product can be profligate in front of goal, but that didn't stop him from scoring twice against Padania and bagging the Cypriots' only goal of the game the last time these two met, in the group stage. SI.com, "CONIFA World Football Cup Final Preview: Key Men, Road to the Final, Where to Watch and More," 8 June 2018 Imagine how profligate cyclist spending would be if communities treated them as an asset rather than a blight. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Our Surrender to the Automobile Is Absurd and Deadly," 5 June 2018 Far from profligate folly, this gloriously staggered array of terraces is the architect’s clever answer to setbacks required by zoning laws. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "‘Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela’ Review: King of Apartments," 29 May 2018 Gutsiest, riskiest, most profligate decision of the year: The Saints dealt next year’s first-round pick to move up to take an edge rusher from Texas-San Antonio, Marcus Davenport. Peter King, SI.com, "One Question, 32 Answers: What Do You Think About Every Team’s Offseason?," 2 May 2018 Germans and other taxpayers in Northern Europe already are cutting substantial checks to stabilize profligate eurozone countries in crisis. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Follow the Money—and Macron’s Vision—to Europe’s Future," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profligate.' 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 profligate

Adjective

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1709, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for profligate

Adjective

Latin profligatus, from past participle of profligare to strike down, from pro- forward, down + -fligare (akin to fligere to strike); akin to Greek phlibein to squeeze

Noun

see profligate entry 1

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The first known use of profligate was in 1617

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More Definitions for profligate

profligate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of profligate

: carelessly and foolishly wasting money, materials, etc. : very wasteful

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