pro·​lif·​ic prə-ˈli-fik How to pronounce prolific (audio)
: producing young or fruit especially freely : fruitful
archaic : causing abundant growth, generation, or reproduction
: marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity
a prolific composer
prolificacy noun
prolifically adverb
prolificness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for prolific

fertile, fecund, fruitful, prolific mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit.

fertile implies the power to reproduce in kind or to assist in reproduction and growth

fertile soil

; applied figuratively, it suggests readiness of invention and development.

a fertile imagination

fecund emphasizes abundance or rapidity in bearing fruit or offspring.

a fecund herd

fruitful adds to fertile and fecund the implication of desirable or useful results.

fruitful research

prolific stresses rapidity of spreading or multiplying by or as if by natural reproduction.

a prolific writer

Example Sentences

Since [David] Mamet is a prolific writer of Hollywood screenplays, there are today more people who know his work than know that they know it. Juliet Fleming, Times Literary Supplement, 18 Feb. 2000
The main rival to his pneumonia was the prolific thrush which went into his throat and stomach. Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting, 1993
A writer as established and prolific as Joyce Carol Oates can approach her material in a wealth of ways unavailable to the more plodding. Jane Smiley, New York Times Book Review, 5 May 1991
Here there are La restaurants, wine bars, bookshops, estate agents more prolific than doctors, and attractive people in black, few of them aging. Hanif Kureishi, Granta 22, Autumn 1987
a famously prolific author who could produce several works of fiction and nonfiction a year
Recent Examples on the Web Bedard’s more prolific stick could be the booster engine that provides him with a faster ascension. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 13 May 2023 Kansas City will face the Dolphins, which will feature two of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. oregonlive, 10 May 2023 The revival was born in April of last year at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park, under the direction of Wayne Cilento, a prolific theater-maker who was among the original company of dancers in the 1978 production that Fosse himself directed and choreographed. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 May 2023 Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense was stifling, shutting off Glenelg Country’s prolific scorers Regan and Blair Byrne. Jacob Steinberg, Baltimore Sun, 9 May 2023 Republicans’ opposition was surely much more high-grade given their knowledge that Tanden’s prolific posting came for all. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 5 May 2023 The band broke up not long after the second album’s release, but Mr. Stewart remained prolific, collaborating with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Tricky and Massive Attack, and releasing a string of eclectic solo albums over the years that, characteristically, were as subtle as a bazooka. Alex Williams, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2023 Sussman's prolific career has also included film roles such as Burn After Reading, Killers, Almost Famous and Wet Hot American Summer. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 21 Apr. 2023 At the time of the sale, the 23-acre estate known as Seamair Farm held a ranch-style home built by prolific architect Cliff May as well as equestrian facilities such as a stable, barn, riding rings and a horse trainer’s house. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prolific.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French prolifique, from Middle French, from Latin proles + Middle French -figue -fic

First Known Use

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prolific was in 1650

Dictionary Entries Near prolific

Cite this Entry

“Prolific.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​lif·​ic prə-ˈlif-ik How to pronounce prolific (audio)
: producing young or fruit in large numbers
a prolific orchard
: highly inventive : productive
a prolific writer
prolifically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on prolific

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