prodigy

noun

prod·​i·​gy ˈprä-də-jē How to pronounce prodigy (audio)
plural prodigies
1
a
: a highly talented child or youth
b
: an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event
2
a
: something extraordinary or inexplicable
b
: a portentous event : omen

Did you know?

Is a prodigy a genius or a monster - or both? Nowadays, it's the talent that shines through, but back in the 15th century the word's meaning was more strongly influenced by that of its Latin ancestor, prodigium, meaning "omen" or "monster." Back then, a prodigy could be any strange or weird thing that might be an omen of things to come. Even in modern English, the word sometimes refers to an extraordinary deed or accomplishment. P.G. Wodehouse used that sense when he described how a character named Pongo Twistleton was "performing prodigies with the [billiard] cue."

Example Sentences

a new drug that is being hailed as the latest prodigy of the medical world
Recent Examples on the Web Earlier, Bob Baffert’s latest prodigy Faiza wore down Teena Ella then cruised to victory in Saturday’s six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-old fillies. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2022 It's been more than 30 years since Max Casella arrived on the sitcom Doogie Howser, M.D. to play the loyal best friend to Neil Patrick Harris' child prodigy. Andrea Mandell, Peoplemag, 11 Nov. 2022 Yet the prodigy grew up in a San Diego house where listening to rock and roll was forbidden. Alan Paul, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 The dad/mom jokes are silly but set the tone here: one of genuine, proud sentiment for this inanimate laboratory on wheels — a prodigy child with many mothers and fathers. Michael O'sullivan, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2022 Wakanda Forever introduced the cinematic world to Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a prodigy from Chicago who built her own Iron Man suit during her time studying at M.I.T. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 11 Nov. 2022 If Utah, organizationally, is trying to tank to the bottom of the standings for French prodigy Victor Wembanyama and projected No. 1 pick, no one has informed the players. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2022 The Sandlot – In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team, resulting in many adventures. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 30 Oct. 2022 On Tuesday, WhatsApp and Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrated the premiere ofNaija Odyssey, a four-chapter short film that explores the importance of international connectivity through the lens of the Greek and Nigerian basketball prodigy. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Latin prodigium omen, monster, from pro-, prod- + -igium (akin to aio I say) — more at adage

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Time Traveler
The first known use of prodigy was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near prodigy

Cite this Entry

“Prodigy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prodigy. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

prodigy

noun

prod·​i·​gy ˈpräd-ə-jē How to pronounce prodigy (audio)
plural prodigies
1
: an amazing event or action : wonder
2
: an unusually talented child

More from Merriam-Webster on prodigy

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