pru·​dent | \ ˈprü-dᵊnt How to pronounce prudent (audio) \

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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Other Words from prudent

prudently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of prudent in a Sentence

An endless war is not always the most moral or the most prudent course of action. — Richard A. Posner, New Republic, 2 Sept. 2002 We missed the Mass for St. Rose of Lima, who, though prudent, had failed to be martyred and was therefore only second-string. — Darryl Pinckney, High Cotton, 1992 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 Wilkinson, Big Sugar, 1989 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. Boorstin, The Discoverers, 1983 He always listened to her prudent advice. You made a prudent choice.
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Recent Examples on the Web After receiving the ensuing kickoff at their own 30, the prudent strategy would dictate the Stars would run the clock out. Lewis Bagley, Indianapolis Star, "One win away from Class 2A repeat, Western Boone's semistate win turned on one play," 23 Nov. 2019 So if that’s the case and there’s obvious incentive for the Bears to use every opportunity to spark a developmental breakthrough in Trubisky, isn’t the decision to stay the course the most prudent? Dan Wiederer,, "Bears Sunday storylines: Roquan Smith’s upswing, the Giants’ giving nature and a historical snapshot of quarterback benchings," 21 Nov. 2019 That’s all reasonable, and for most programs would be the prudent strategy. John Talty |, al, "Arkansas should dump Chad Morris, Auburn with work to do," 3 Nov. 2019 Monfredo, 29, foresees at least a few more seasons on the ice, but planning for the future is prudent. Stephen Ruiz,, "As son of 9-11 first responder, Solar Bears defenseman Mike Monfredo eyes career in law enforcement," 11 Oct. 2019 If there is any play to be made, placing a small bet on a plus-bet on the Marlins (+140) is just more prudent. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants odds, picks and betting tips," 13 Sep. 2019 The current front office appears much more prudent than previous regimes, but after striking out on all the top names in free agency, could the Knicks trade for Westbrook in an attempt to save face? Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Russell Westbrook: Five potential trade destinations," 7 July 2019 The contract extensions for Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco this season proved prudent in a historically good offense. Michael Shapiro,, "World Series Power Rankings: Which Division Leader Should Be the Title Favorite?," 3 Sep. 2019 And although Johnson’s replacement, Dontrell Hilliard, had an up and down game on Thursday night complete with some nice catches but a fumble on the goal-line, Kitchens still believes the trade was prudent. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Freddie Kitchens says Duke Johnson wasn’t dogging it with the pulled hamstring," 9 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of prudent

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prudent

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

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Time Traveler for prudent

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The first known use of prudent was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prudent.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for prudent


How to pronounce prudent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prudent

: having or showing careful good judgment


pru·​dent | \ ˈprü-dᵊnt How to pronounce prudent (audio) \

Kids Definition of prudent

: wise and careful in action or judgment

Other Words from prudent

prudently adverb


pru·​dent | \ ˈprüd-ᵊnt How to pronounce prudent (audio) \

Legal Definition of prudent

: characterized by, arising from, or showing prudence

Other Words from prudent

prudently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on prudent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prudent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prudent

Spanish Central: Translation of prudent

Nglish: Translation of prudent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prudent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prudent

What made you want to look up prudent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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