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 Everyone is looking for someone else to make the first move in determining exactly what is prudent. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "Memorial Day weekend kicks off a bizarre Texas summer, so what is vacation in the time of coronavirus?," 22 May 2020 Testing regular visitors may be prudent too—or finding other ways to stop them bringing in the virus. The Economist, "To each according to his need The risk of severe covid-19 is not uniform," 21 May 2020 Florence’s Dario Nardella shared an image of his post lockdown haircut and urged people to be prudent and adhere to safety measures. NBC News, "Virus lockdowns may harm African elephants as tourism wanes, charity warns," 20 May 2020 Sure, if potential damage to person or property looms, pruning is prudent. Sharon Sorenson, Indianapolis Star, "For the Birds: Leaving Chickadee snag alone can help bird populations," 11 Apr. 2020 The baseball source said a more prudent outlook would be to wait another two months and see what the global landscape looks like then. NBC News, "Plans to start MLB season amid pandemic are just a bit outside, sources say," 11 Apr. 2020 Oklahoma utilized a multi-back system throughout Sermon’s career — and perhaps Ohio State will decide that is the most prudent approach for 2020 as well. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "How Trey Sermon’s transfer helps Ohio State football in 2020, and what the Buckeyes mean for him," 22 Mar. 2020 And Democrats wonder whether airlines in particular should have been more prudent in the good years ahead of 2020. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Coronavirus stimulus package wins quick support. Just don't call it a bailout," 19 Mar. 2020 The more prudent approach is to pick among the superabundance of different viable options at the position. Adam Ronis,, "When is it Safe to Select Colts QB Andrew Luck in Fantasy Drafts?," 23 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prudent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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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

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