adjective pro·lif·ic \ prə-ˈli-fik \
|Updated on: 11 Jul 2018

Definition of prolific

1 : producing young or fruit especially freely : fruitful
2 archaic : causing abundant growth, generation, or reproduction
3 : marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity
  • a prolific composer


play \prə-ˈli-fi-kə-sē\ noun


play \prə-ˈli-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


play \prə-ˈli-fik-nəs\ noun

Examples of prolific in a Sentence

  1. 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 FlemingTimes Literary Supplement18 Feb. 2000
  2. The main rival to his pneumonia was the prolific thrush which went into his throat and stomach. —Irvine WelshTrainspotting1993
  3. 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 SmileyNew York Times Book Review5 May 1991
  4. Here there are La restaurants, wine bars, bookshops, estate agents more prolific than doctors, and attractive people in black, few of them aging. —Hanif KureishiGranta 22Autumn 1987
  5. a famously prolific author who could produce several works of fiction and nonfiction a year

Recent Examples of prolific from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prolific.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of prolific

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

PROLIFIC Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of prolific for English Language Learners

  • : producing a large amount of something

PROLIFIC Defined for Kids


adjective pro·lif·ic \ prə-ˈli-fik \

Definition of prolific for Students

1 : very inventive or productive
  • a prolific writer
2 : producing young or fruit in large numbers
  • a prolific fruit tree

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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