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

  • noun One who spends money recklessly or wastefully.
  • adjective Wasteful or extravagant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who spends lavishly, improvidently, or foolishly; an unthrifty spender; a prodigal.
  • Wastefully spending or spent; lavish; improvident; wasteful; prodigal: as, a spendthrift heir; spendthrift ways.

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

  • noun One who spends money profusely or improvidently; a prodigal; one who lavishes or wastes his estate. Also used figuratively.
  • adjective Prodigal; extravagant; wasteful.

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

  • noun Someone who spends money improvidently or wastefully.
  • adjective Wasteful, improvident or profligate.
  • adjective Lavish or extravagant.

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

  • noun someone who spends money prodigally
  • adjective recklessly wasteful


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

[spend + thrift, accumulated wealth (obsolete).]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word spendthrift.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Someone who spends money prodigally"

    August 16, 2007

  • "Spendthrift" is one of those words that always confuses me. I always think it means the opposite of what it actually does.

    To me I think that it would mean being "thrifty" ("tight", "frugal") with one's "spending".

    It actually means being wasteful with one's money. This comes from the fact that "thrift" as a noun means one's fortune or savings, so one who is a spendthrift literally spends his savings (presumably with little prudence).

    June 14, 2008

  • Ditto - I too find this word counter-intuitive.

    June 14, 2008

  • I agree. I once got into an argument with someone who would not back down in their belief that it meant "frugal". How petty...

    June 14, 2008

  • I was not confused before, but I will be now. Thanks a lot guys!

    June 14, 2008