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prodigal Syllabification: prod·i·gal
Pronunciation: /ˈprädəɡəl/

Definition of prodigal in English:


1Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant: prodigal habits die hard
More example sentences
  • It is short-sighted and a prodigal use of limited resources.
  • Call me reckless, prodigal even, but I've been spending up big on electricity.
  • Above all, the Executive must curb its own prodigal spending.
2Having or giving something on a lavish scale: the dessert was crunchy with brown sugar and prodigal with whipped cream
More example sentences
  • Beside the little plateau a rocky basin of roughly the same shape and dimensions caught the thundering water in its downward rush, tossing it high, splashing and spraying, breezing falling flowers and mist with prodigal liberality.
  • Caesar, or Christ, that is the question: the vast, attractive, skeptical world, with its pleasures and ambitions and its prodigal promise, or the meek, majestic, and winning figure of Him of Nazareth?
  • As a small boy, Stephen showed few signs of prodigal genius; he was slow to learn to read but liked to take things apart - a way of ‘finding out how the world around me worked’.


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1A person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way.
Example sentences
  • When it comes to love, God is the great prodigal - extravagant, a spendthrift, and oblivious to cost.
  • In reckless extravagance he outdid the prodigals of all times in ingenuity… and set before his guests loaves and meats of gold, declaring that a man ought either to be frugal or be Caesar.
  • This includes not just creditors but, above all, the little man who is forced to keep his meager savings in the form of cash, i.e., paper money open to plunder by the prodigal which is the consortium of the banks and the government.
1.1 (also prodigal son or daughter) A person who leaves home and behaves recklessly, but later makes a repentant return.
[With biblical allusion to the parable in Luke 15:11–32]
Example sentences
  • He is continuing to build up his panel in trial matches and gave a trial to a few newcomers or returning prodigals at the weekend.
  • The prodigal returns home to marry his high school sweetheart and to mind the store, but the lure of rock and roll ultimately calls him away from responsibility.
  • My mother was back - eight months with me and another five back home, and she had returned like the prodigal, no longer self-indulgent in her grief.


Late Middle English: from late Latin prodigalis, from Latin prodigus 'lavish'.



Pronunciation: /ˌprädəˈɡalədē/
Example sentences
  • The Venetian comedy also includes a pair of social parasites living off the prodigality of the extravagant young couple.
  • Lucy Moore writes with a glad eye of the prodigality of unrestrained royalty, the full-blown excess that in the end wearied the more realistic Queen Victoria.
  • There was an exuberance or prodigality of sweetness about the mere act of living which our race finds it difficult not to associate with forbidden and extravagant actions.


Pronunciation: /ˈprädəɡ(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • On the other hand billions of rupiah have been prodigally spent for far from urgent projects, such as the renovation of the Hotel Indonesia roundabout and the fence around Monas park.
  • However, with the demise of the fishing industry and the acute depopulation of the islands no more will we see islanders manning our ships in war so prodigally as in the past.
  • But Sparta, prodigally, has given us not one but two English adjectives, and a noun besides: ‘spartan’, of course, ‘laconic’, and, less obviously, ‘helot’.

Words that rhyme with prodigal

madrigal • warrigal

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