[ pruh-lif-ik ]
/ prəˈlɪf ɪk /


producing offspring, young, fruit, etc., abundantly; highly fruitful: a prolific pear tree.
producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive: a prolific writer.
profusely productive or fruitful (often followed by in or of): a bequest prolific of litigations.
characterized by abundant production: a prolific year for tomatoes.

Nearby words

  1. proliferative fasciitis,
  2. proliferative gingivitis,
  3. proliferative inflammation,
  4. proliferative retinopathy,
  5. proliferous,
  6. proligerous,
  7. prolinase,
  8. proline,
  9. proline dipeptidase,
  10. proline iminopeptidase

Origin of prolific

First recorded in 1640–50, prolific is from the Medieval Latin word prōlificus fertile. See prolicide, -fic

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for prolificity


/ (prəˈlɪfɪk) /


producing fruit, offspring, etc, in abundance
producing constant or successful results
(often foll by in or of) rich or fruitful
Derived Formsprolifically, adverbprolificness or prolificacy, noun

Word Origin for prolific

C17: from Medieval Latin prōlificus, from Latin prōlēs offspring

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 prolificity



1640s, from French prolifique (16c.), from Medieval Latin prolificus, from Latin proles "offspring" + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Latin proles is contracted from *pro-oles, from PIE *pro-al-, from *pro- "forth" (see pro-) + *al- "to grow, nourish" (see old). Related: Prolifical (c.1600).

Prolific is in common use, but to make a satisfactory noun from it has passed the wit of man. [Fowler]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper