pro·​lix | \ prō-ˈliks How to pronounce prolix (audio) , ˈprō-(ˌ)liks How to pronounce prolix (audio) \

Definition of prolix

1 : unduly prolonged or drawn out : too long
2 : marked by or using an excess of words

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Other Words from prolix

prolixity \ prō-​ˈlik-​sə-​tē How to pronounce prolix (audio) \ noun
prolixly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for prolix

wordy, verbose, prolix, diffuse mean using more words than necessary to express thought. wordy may also imply loquaciousness or garrulity. a wordy speech verbose suggests a resulting dullness, obscurity, or lack of incisiveness or precision. the verbose position papers prolix suggests unreasonable and tedious dwelling on details. habitually transformed brief anecdotes into prolix sagas diffuse stresses lack of compactness and pointedness of style. diffuse memoirs that are so many shaggy-dog stories

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There's no way to talk about prolix without being redundant, verbose, and wordy. That's because the word is a synonym of all of those long-winded terms. Of those words, prolix is the one most likely to suggest unreasonable and tedious dwelling on details. It derives from prolixus, a Latin term meaning "extended" or "copious." Prolixus originated from a combination of the prefix pro- (which means "forward") and the past participle of liquēre, a verb meaning "to be fluid." True to that history, something that is prolix flows on and on.

Examples of prolix in a Sentence

The speech was unnecessarily prolix. a person known for habitually transforming brief anecdotes into prolix sagas that exhaust their listeners
Recent Examples on the Web Ames’s ruminations on the soul are prolix, philosophical, and profoundly sad. Hermione Lee, The New York Review of Books, 6 Oct. 2020 Yet readers today are often deterred by Conrad’s convoluted, prolix style. The Economist, 2 Nov. 2017 The collective pledges spiritual allegiance to Sun Ra, Prince and Betty Davis, and makes its intentions clear with prolix verbiage as well as tousled funk. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prolix

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French prolix, from Latin prolixus extended, from pro- forward + liquēre to be fluid — more at liquid

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Time Traveler for prolix

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

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Cite this Entry

“Prolix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for prolix



English Language Learners Definition of prolix

formal + disapproving : using too many words

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