Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

prodigal

[prod-i-guhl]
See more synonyms for prodigal on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.
  2. giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually followed by of or with): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
  3. lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.
Show More
noun
  1. a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.
Show More

Origin of prodigal

First recorded in 1500–10; back formation from prodigality
Related formsprod·i·gal·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

1. See lavish.

Antonyms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

spendthriftwantonprofligatelushwasterwastrelsportspendersquandererdissipatedexcessiveextravagantimmoderateimprovidentintemperatelavishrecklessabundantbountifulcopious

Examples from the Web for prodigal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Who, think you, does more injustice, a prodigal man or a saving man?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Swine were the natural companions of the prodigal, and the sooner he was with them the better!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Here, too, are the ironies whereof departed life is prodigal.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • But for her Paula would not have returned, like the Prodigal son, to the father's house.

  • I am prodigal enough at times, but I will not part with such a treasure as that.


British Dictionary definitions for prodigal

prodigal

adjective
  1. recklessly wasteful or extravagant, as in disposing of goods or money
  2. lavish in giving or yieldingprodigal of compliments
Show More
noun
  1. a person who spends lavishly or squanders money
Show More
Derived Formsprodigality, nounprodigally, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin prōdigālis wasteful, from Latin prōdigus lavish, from prōdigere to squander, from pro- 1 + agere to drive
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

Word Origin and History for prodigal

adj.

mid-15c., a back-formation from prodigality, or else from Middle French prodigal and directly from Late Latin prodigalis, from Latin prodigus "wasteful," from prodigere "drive away, waste," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + agere "to drive" (see act (v.)). First reference is to prodigial son, from Vulgate Latin filius prodigus (Luke xv:11-32). As a noun, "prodigal person," 1590s, from the adjective (the Latin adjective also was used as a noun).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper