Definitions

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

  • adjective Producing offspring or fruit in great abundance; fertile.
  • adjective Producing or characterized by abundant works or results: synonym: fertile.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Producing young or fruit, especially in abundance; fruitful; fertile; productive in general: as, a prolific female; a prolific tree; prolific seed.
  • Serving to give rise or origin; having the quality of generating: as, a controversy prolific of evil consequences; a prolific brain.
  • Same as proliferous .

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

  • adjective Having the quality of generating; producing young or fruit; generative; fruitful; productive; -- applied to plants producing fruit, animals producing young, etc.; -- usually with the implied idea of frequent or numerous production.
  • adjective Serving to produce; fruitful of results; active
  • adjective (Bot.) Proliferous.

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

  • adjective Fertile, producing offspring or fruit in abundance — applied to plants producing fruit, animals producing young, etc.
  • adjective Similarly producing results or works in abundance

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

  • adjective intellectually productive
  • adjective bearing in abundance especially offspring

Etymologies

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

[French prolifique, from Medieval Latin prōlificus : Latin prōlēs, prōl-, offspring; see al- in Indo-European roots + Latin -ficus, -fic.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1640-1650: from French prolifique, from Latin proles ("offspring") and facere ("to make").

Examples

  • The word "prolific" may well have been invented to describe Robert Pollard, who I must guess is sick to death of people telling him about his POTENTIAL if he would just FOCUS HIMSELF and CHANNEL HIS ENERGY.

    Boing Boing

  • The CBS News program "48 Hours" in 1993 devoted an hourlong program, "See You in Court; Civil War, Anthony Martin Clogs Legal System with Frivolous Lawsuits," to what it called his prolific filings.

    Andrea Harner

  • Neil Young -- One more transplanted Canadian -- Dylan's rival in prolific songwriting, but more about him in Year of the Horse, yet to come.

    Archive 2005-05-01

  • Neil Young -- One more transplanted Canadian -- Dylan's rival in prolific songwriting, but more about him in Year of the Horse, yet to come.

    View from the Northern Border

  • He studied mathematics and physics under Santucci and became known as a prolific writer on mathematical and historical subjects.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Assizes-Browne

  • He is known as a prolific fundraiser and has devoted considerable energy to filling his campaign coffers.

    The Seattle Times

  • He is known as a prolific fundraiser and has devoted considerable energy to filling his campaign coffers.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • He is known as a prolific fundraiser and has devoted considerable energy to filling his campaign coffers.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Now the word prolific just doesn't quite seem to cut it, but prolific he is.

    The Line Of Best Fit

  • Now the word prolific just doesn't quite seem to cut it, but prolific he is.

    The Line Of Best Fit

Comments

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  • A prolific writer

    November 20, 2007

  • Opposite of 'conlific'?

    January 30, 2008

  • Am I being.... Prolific right now?

    August 15, 2008

  • Question:

    What is the noun that denotes the quality of being 'prolific'?

    January 8, 2009

  • OED says prolificacy. I have a hazy memory of seeing "prolificness" in print, but it may have been a dream.

    January 8, 2009

  • C_b beat me to it: prolificacy. But it sure is a mouthful. Prolificness is also listed by OED (though tagged as obsolete) and prolificalness is tagged as rare, but prolificity is also listed.

    I'm enjoying there being a proliferation of "prolific" nouns. :-)

    January 8, 2009