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[prof-li-git, -geyt] /ˈprɒf lɪ gɪt, -ˌgeɪt/
utterly and shamelessly immoral or dissipated; thoroughly dissolute.
recklessly prodigal or extravagant.
a profligate person.
Origin of profligate
1525-35; < Latin prōflīgātus broken down in character, degraded, orig. past participle of prōflīgāre to shatter, debase, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + -flīgāre, derivative of flīgere to strike; see inflict, -ate1
Related forms
profligately, adverb
profligateness, noun
1. abandoned, licentious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for profligate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All the personages in this piece are of an abandoned and profligate character.

    Thoughts on Man William Godwin
  • The imagination of a profligate cannot be other than depraved.

    The Young Maiden A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
  • A host of signboards are attributed to Hogarth or that eccentric and profligate genius, George Morland.

    Old Country Inns of England Henry P. Maskell
  • We do not gain the high art of holding the good which we gain, so profligate are we.

    Cupology Clara
  • If you spend your nights in public, you're a profligate; and if you spend them at home, you're a secret drinker.

British Dictionary definitions for profligate


shamelessly immoral or debauched
wildly extravagant or wasteful
a profligate person
Derived Forms
profligacy (ˈprɒflɪɡəsɪ) noun
profligately, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōflīgātus corrupt, from prōflīgāre to overthrow, from pro-1 + flīgere to beat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for profligate

1520s, "overthrown, routed" (now obsolete in this sense), from Latin profligatus "destroyed, ruined, corrupt, abandoned, dissolute," past participle of profligare "to cast down, defeat, ruin," from pro- "down, forth" (see pro-) + fligere "to strike" (see afflict). Main modern meaning "recklessly extravagant" is 1779, via notion of "ruined by vice" (1640s, implied in a use of profligation). Related: Profligately. As a noun from 1709.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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