Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Rashly or wastefully extravagant.
  • adjective Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse: synonym: profuse.
  • noun One who is given to wasteful luxury or extravagance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • 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.
  • noun One who expends money extravagantly or without necessity; one who is profuse or lavish; a waster; a spendthrift.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective recklessly wasteful
  • noun a recklessly extravagant consumer

Etymologies

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

[Late 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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

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  • Find out if the old lady approved of this prodigal arrangement

    February 19, 2013