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  1. wise or judicious in practical affairs; sagacious; discreet or circumspect; sober.
  2. careful in providing for the future; provident: a prudent decision.
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Origin of prudent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin prūdent- (stem of prūdēns), contraction of prōvidēns provident
Related formspru·dent·ly, adverbnon·pru·dent, adjectivenon·pru·dent·ly, adverbpre·pru·dent, adjectivepre·pru·dent·ly, adverbsu·per·pru·dent, adjectiveun·pru·dent, adjectiveun·pru·dent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedprudent prudential

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

Related Words for prudent

cautious, reasonable, frugal, shrewd, vigilant, discreet, sane, economical, judicious, careful, advisable, canny, circumspect, discerning, far-sighted, leery, politic, provident, sagacious, sage

Examples from the Web for prudent

Contemporary Examples of prudent

Historical Examples of prudent

British Dictionary definitions for prudent


  1. discreet or cautious in managing one's activities; circumspect
  2. practical and careful in providing for the future
  3. exercising good judgment or common sense
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Derived Formsprudently, adverb

Word Origin for prudent

C14: from Latin prūdēns far-sighted, contraction of prōvidens acting with foresight; see provident
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 prudent


late 14c., from Old French prudent "with knowledge, deliberate" (c.1300), from Latin prudentem (nominative prudens) "knowing, skilled, sagacious, circumspect;" rarely in literal sense "foreseeing;" contraction of providens, present participle of providere "to foresee" (see provide). Related: Prudently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper