Vintage engraving of a scene from the New Testament by Gustave Dore showing the Prodigal son in his fathers arms.
- The definition of prodigal is spending money carelessly and foolishly.
An example of prodigal is buying very expensive cars and homes.
- Prodigal is a person who left home, often under bad terms, and who then has a long-awaited and much celebrated return home.
An example of prodigal is a son who comes home to make peace with his father after a ten year fight.
- exceedingly or recklessly wasteful
- extremely generous; lavish: prodigal with one's praise
- extremely abundant; profuse
Origin of prodigalMiddle French from Classical Latin prodigus, prodigal from prodigere, to drive forth or away, waste from pro-, forth + agere, to drive: see pro- and act
- a person who wastes his means; spendthrift
Origin of prodigalafter the prodigal son, a repentant wastrel who is welcomed back warmly on his homecoming: Luke 15:11-32 a person who returns after a willful absence
- Rashly or wastefully extravagant: prodigal expenditures on unneeded weaponry; a prodigal nephew who squandered his inheritance.
- Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse: “the infinite number of organic beings with which the sea of the tropics, so prodigal of life, teems” ( Charles Darwin ) See Synonyms at profuse.
Origin of prodigalLate Middle English probably back-formation from Middle English prodigalite from Old French from Late Latin prōdigālitās from Latin prōdigus prodigal from prōdigere to drive away, squander prōd-, prō- for, forth ; see proud . agere to drive ; see ag- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative more prodigal, superlative most prodigal)
- wastefully extravagant.
- He found himself guilty of prodigal spending during the holidays.
- He is not a prodigal son.
- (often followed by of or with) someone yielding profusely, lavish
- She was a merry person, glad and prodigal of smiles.
- How can he be so prodigal with money on such a tight budget?
- profuse, lavishly abundant
- returning after abandoning a person, group, or ideal, especially for selfish reasons; being a prodigal son.
- (a prodigal person): frugal
- A prodigal person, a spendthrift.