pro-, por-, pur-

(Greek > Latin: a prefix signifying before; forward, forth; for, in favor of; in front of; in place of, on behalf of; according to; as, to place before; to go before or forward, to throw forward)

prodigious (adjective), more prodigious, most prodigious
1. A reference to something that is great in size, force, or extent as to elicit awe: The weather forecast indicated that a prodigious storm was coming the next day.
2. Of momentous or ominous significance: The prophet had a prodigious vision about what would happen to the people if the terrorists invaded the country.
3. Pertaining to that which is wonderful or marvelous: Shirley had a prodigious, or a remarkable talent, as a writer.
4. Referring to anything which is beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree: The winner of the quiz program succeeded in achieving the prodigious sum of one million dollars.
5. Extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree: The ocean has a prodigious, or an astounding, amount of water.

The local newspaper reported that there was a prodigious, or an amazing number, of visitors at the recent art exhibition.
6. Pertaining to being bountiful, profuse, and abundant: There are prodigious numbers of word entries that still need to be completed and/or enhanced in this lexicon.
7. Etymology: from Latin prodigiosus "marvelous" and prodigium "prophetic sign, portent".

Pertaining to being extraordinary in quantity or degree.
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A reference to being large in quantity or degree.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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prodigiously (adverb), more prodigiously, most prodigiously
A reference to something that is huge in amount, size, or extent; enormous: As a result of the hurricanes, there has been a prodigiously large number of homes and other buildings that have been destroyed.

After the defeat of the French in Canada at the hands of the British in 1759, the French population in Canada increased prodigiously in the 19th and early 29th centuries; however, since the end of World War II, the birth rate of French Canadians dropped considerably, and English-speaking Canada has grown much faster.

—Compiled from a quote in
Words in Action by Robert Greenman; Times Books;
a division of The New York Times Book Co., Inc.;
New York; 1983, page 296.
prodigiousness (s) (noun) (no plural)
The state or condition of having qualities that excite wonder and astonishment: Mack's son had a prodigiousness for remembering all kinds of facts about when and where historical things happened as far back as the data have been recorded.

The writing skills of Isaac Asimov's prodigiousness involved the publications of hundreds of books about science, history, fiction, and many other topics.

prodigy (s) (noun), prodigies (pl)
1. A person who has, or those who have, exceptional talents or powers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was a prodigy who could read, play, and improvise music when he was just five years old.

Karen, a math prodigy, surprised her teacher and fellow students when she easily solved a complicated numerical problem which was presented to the class.

2. An act or event so extraordinary or rare as to inspire wonder: Gertrude told her parents about a fourteen-year old boy who is a mathematics prodigy and is attending her university.
3. An unusually gifted or intelligent (young) person; someone whose talents excite wonder and admiration: Tom was a prodigy who started playing the piano when he was six years old and then he became well-known as a soloist at the age of fifteen and as a teacher of other aspiring young people.
4. A portentous sign or event; an omen; a sign of something about to happen: The arctic cold was a prodigy that moved down through Canada, and some sections of the United States, bringing very low temperatures and heavy snows that were not normal so early in November.
5. Etymology: a "sign, portent, something extraordinary from which omens are drawn", from Latin prodigium, "sign, omen, portent, prodigy" from pro-, "forth" + -igium, a suffix or word of unknown origin.

The Roman word prodigium was used to indicate an incident or an extraordinary nature that was recognized as a prophetic sign, whether good or bad, by the entire nation.

Then it was adopted into English as prodigy, which at first had the same meaning as the Roman term; that is, as a sign of prophesy. Later it was applied to an extraordinary person or animal, one with great intelligence or talent, and then it evolved into a reference to a child who possessed these qualities.

—Compiled from information located in
The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins;
by Robert Hendrickson; Facts On File, Inc.; New York; 1997; page 546.
Someone who is exceptional in talent, a marvel.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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A prodigy is the child who plays the piano late at night when he ought to be in bed.

—Compiled from a quote by Evan Esar in his
Esar's Comic Dictionary; Doubleday & Company, Inc.;
Garden City, New York; 1983; page 477.
Premonitory; indicating the onset of a disease or a morbid state.
prodrome (prodroma, s; prodromata, pl)
1. A premonitory symptom or precursor.
2. A symptom indicating the onset of a disease.
produce (s) (noun) (no plural)
1. The amount yielded or derived; the proceeds; the return, the yield.
2. The thing or things collectively brought forth, either as a natural growth or as a result of action or effort; fruit.
3. Agricultural and natural results collectively, as distinguished from manufactured goods.
produce, produce
produce (proh DOOS) (verb)
1. To make something; especially by using machines: The company will produce thousands of cars.
2. To show something or to cause something to appear or to be seen: Frank had to produce his ID for the security guard before he was allowed entrance into the building.
produce (PROH doos) (noun)
That which is produced or yielded by agricultural efforts; such as, fruits and vegetables: Christine will be going to buy produce at the market tomorrow.

Paul's farm helped to produce needed produce for people to buy at the local farmer's market.

1. Someone who, or that which produces; in various senses: to bring forth as a product; a mine that produces gold; a seed that finally produced fruit; a plant that produces a medicinal oil.
2. An organizer and administrator of the making of a movie, broadcast, or recording; or the staging of a play.
1. Capable of being produced, brought forward, or presented to the eye or mind; adducible; procurable, obtainable, available.
2. Fit to be produced or introduced; presentable.
3. That which can be produced or extended in length.
4. That which may be caused or brought about; capable of being brought into being, generated, or made.
1. In mathematics, the quantity obtained by multiplying two or more quantities together. Also, more widely, applied to other mathematical entities (as events, matrices, permutations, sets, tensors, vectors, etc.) obtained by certain defined processes of combination of two or more entities, the processes not necessarily being commutative and the entities combined not necessarily being of the same kind.
2. A thing produced by nature or a natural process; also in a collective sense; such as, produce, fruit.
3. That which is produced by any action, operation, or work; a production; the result. Now freq. that which is produced commercially for sale.
4. That which results from the operation of a cause; a consequence, effect.
5. In chemistry, a compound not previously existing in a body, but formed during its decomposition.
1. The action of producing, bringing forth, making, or causing; the fact or condition of being produced.
2. That which is produced; a thing that results from any action, process, or effort; a product.
3. The action of bringing forward or exhibiting. In Law, the exhibiting of a document in court. to satisfy production, to produce and submit a document called for by a court of law (and thereby to admit the title of the pursuer and competence of the court).
4. Designating a vehicle or appliance made in the ordinary course of production, as opposed to one made for testing or other special purposes.
production and interrelation of electric and magnetic fields, Maxwell's equations
Four equations, formulated by James Clerk Maxwell, that together form a complete description of the production and interrelation of electric and magnetic fields.

The statements of these four equations are as follows:

  1. Electric field diverges from electric charge.
  2. There are no isolated magnetic poles.
  3. Electric fields are produced by changing magnetic fields.
  4. Circulating magnetic fields are produced by changing electric fields and by electric currents.

Maxwell based his description of electromagnetic fields on these four statements.

1. Having the quality of producing or bringing forth; tending to produce; creative, generative.
2. That which causes or brings about, that results in; causative. Always with of.
3. That which produces readily or abundantly; fertile; prolific.
1. In economics, the rate of output per unit of input, used especially in measuring capital growth, and in assessing the effective use of labor, materials, and equipment.
2. The rate at which radiant energy is used by producers to form organic substances as food for consumers.

Related before-word units: ante-; antero-; anti-; pre-.