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[prof-li-git, -geyt]
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  1. utterly and shamelessly immoral or dissipated; thoroughly dissolute.
  2. recklessly prodigal or extravagant.
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  1. a profligate person.
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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 formsprof·li·gate·ly, adverbprof·li·gate·ness, noun


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for profligate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The brilliant but profligate Buckingham is retained as prime minister.

  • Why, a profligate couldn't spend ten dollars a week here, if he tried.

  • He was reputed to be the paid lover of an exiled and profligate queen.

    The Nabob

    Alphonse Daudet

  • But we have some of it left, and we profligate rulers, as the workers call us, cherish it.

    The White Invaders

    Raymond King Cummings

  • The imagination of a profligate cannot be other than depraved.

    The Young Maiden

    A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

British Dictionary definitions for profligate


  1. shamelessly immoral or debauched
  2. wildly extravagant or wasteful
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  1. a profligate person
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Derived Formsprofligacy (ˈprɒflɪɡəsɪ), nounprofligately, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper