English Dictionary

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prodigal (ˈprɒdɪɡəl Pronunciation for prodigal



  1. recklessly wasteful or extravagant, as in disposing of goods or money
  2. lavish in giving or yielding   ⇒ prodigal of compliments


  1. a person who spends lavishly or squanders money

Derived Forms

ˌprodiˈgality noun
ˈprodigally adverb

Word Origin

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

Example Sentences Including 'prodigal'

After she returns unexpectedly nine years later to adopt the role of prodigal child, long-forgotten resentments surface.
Times, Sunday Times (2001)
As the borrowed line from Luke intimates, the journey back to Sligo would be a lost prodigal 's journey back towards being found.
Kinahan, Frank Yeats, Folklore, and Occultism: Contexts of the Early Work and Thought.
He greeted the return of the prodigal with as little surprise as if I'd been away in Blackpool for a long weekend.
Harris, Elizabeth Time of the Wolf
Speaking of the storytelling gifts of Christ, he updates the parable of the prodigal.
The Australian (2004)
The Space Jump is risky, it's fearfully prodigal of energy and therefore it's enormously expensive.
Asimov, Isaac The Complete Stories Volume 2
The lane is overgrown with tender foliage and prodigal quantities of pink and white blossom.
Times, Sunday Times (2002)
The outcome of this stand-off: the parent and the prodigal son will keep feuding.
Business Today (1996)
The prodigal son returns this weekend and he's on his best behaviour.
Globe and Mail (2003)
The sons of George III had been prodigal breeders, hadn't they?
Butler, Gwendoline Coffin in Fashion


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