adjective pru·dent \ ˈprü-dᵊnt \
|Updated on: 10 Aug 2018

Definition of prudent

: characterized by, arising from, or showing prudence: such as
a : marked by wisdom or judiciousness
  • prudent advice
b : shrewd in the management of practical affairs
  • prudent investors
c : marked by circumspection : discreet



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Examples of prudent in a Sentence

  1. An endless war is not always the most moral or the most prudent course of action. —Richard A. PosnerNew Republic2 Sept. 2002
  2. We missed the Mass for St. Rose of Lima, who, though prudent, had failed to be martyred and was therefore only second-string. —Darryl PinckneyHigh Cotton1992
  3. Prudent burners take several precautions. Burning one of two bordering fields, they wet the edge of one or the other, usually the one being burned, to prevent the flames from jumping. —Alec WilkinsonBig Sugar1989
  4. Since the inexplicable power of a magnetized needle to "find" the north smacked of black magic …  . For many decades the prudent sea captain consulted his compass secretly. —Daniel J. BoorstinThe Discoverers1983
  5. He always listened to her prudent advice.

  6. You made a prudent choice.

Recent Examples of prudent from the Web

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

It is prudent To Read Up on This Word History

Prudent arrived in Middle English around the 14th century and traces back, by way of Middle French, to the Latin verb providēre, meaning "to see ahead, foresee, provide (for). "Providēre" combines pro-, meaning "before, and vidēre, meaning "to see, and it may look familiar to you; it is also the source of our "provide," "provident," "provision," and "improvise." "Vidēre" also has many English offspring, including "evident," "supervise," "video," and "vision."

Origin and Etymology of prudent

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin prudent-, prudens, contraction of provident-, providens — more at provident

Synonym Discussion of prudent

wise, sage, sapient, judicious, prudent, sensible, sane mean having or showing sound judgment. wise suggests great understanding of people and of situations and unusual discernment and judgment in dealing with them.
    • wise beyond his tender years
sage suggests wide experience, great learning, and wisdom.
    • the sage advice of my father
sapient suggests great sagacity and discernment.
    • the sapient musings of an old philosopher
judicious stresses a capacity for reaching wise decisions or just conclusions.
    • judicious parents using kindness and discipline in equal measure
prudent suggests the exercise of restraint guided by sound practical wisdom and discretion.
    • a prudent decision to wait out the storm
sensible applies to action guided and restrained by good sense and rationality.
    • a sensible woman who was not fooled by flattery
sane stresses mental soundness, rationality, and levelheadedness.
    • remained sane even in times of crises

PRUDENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of prudent for English Language Learners

  • : having or showing careful good judgment

PRUDENT Defined for Kids


adjective pru·dent \ ˈprü-dᵊnt \

Definition of prudent for Students

: wise and careful in action or judgment



Law Dictionary


adjective pru·dent \ ˈprüd-ᵊnt \

legal Definition of prudent

: characterized by, arising from, or showing prudence



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