from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Rashly or wastefully extravagant: prodigal expenditures on unneeded weaponry; a prodigal life.
  • adj. Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse: prodigal praise. See Synonyms at profuse.
  • n. One who is given to wasteful luxury or extravagance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. wastefully extravagant.
  • adj. someone yielding profusely, lavish
  • adj. profuse, lavishly abundant
  • adj. returning after abandoning a person, group, or ideal, especially for selfish reasons; being a prodigal son.
  • n. A prodigal person, a spendthrift.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Given to extravagant expenditure; expending money or other things without necessity; recklessly or viciously profuse; lavish; wasteful; not frugal or economical
  • n. One who expends money extravagantly, viciously, or without necessity; one that is profuse or lavish in any expenditure; a waster; a spendthrift.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Given to extravagant expenditure; expending money or other property without necessity; profuse; lavish; wasteful: said of persons: as, a prodigal man; the prodigal son.
  • Profuse; lavish; wasteful: said of things: as, a prodigal expenditure of money.
  • Very liberal; lavishly bountiful: as, nature is prodigal of her gifts.
  • Proud.
  • n. One who expends money extravagantly or without necessity; one who is profuse or lavish; a waster; a spendthrift.
  • n. In civil law. a person of full age for whom, by judicial authority, a curator is appointed, by reason of his inability to attend to his obligations and estate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. recklessly wasteful
  • n. a recklessly extravagant consumer


Probably back-formation from prodigality.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin prodigalis ("wasteful"), from Latin prodigus ("wasteful, lavish, prodigal"), from prodigere ("to consume, squander, drive forth"), from pro ("before, forward") + agere ("to drive"). (Wiktionary)



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    February 19, 2013