(Latin: a spendthrift, wasteful; a squanderer; to drive forth)

The words in this unit are NOT related to those in the prodigi-, prodig- unit; despite what some other dictionaries indicate.

prodigal (s) (noun), prodigals (pl)
1. A spendthrift or a profligate (wasteful) spender: Alice was a prodigal who went through the income that her husband earned as if it were water.
2. Anyone who spends funds in an excessive or uncontrollable way: Jane wrote a book about prodigals who had received large amounts of money from their parents and ended up living in poverty because they wasted the inheritances that they had received.

Prodigals are wasteful people who cannot live within their incomes, and then find that they cannot live within their credit accounts either.

—Compiled from a quote by Evan Esar in his
Esar's Comic Dictionary; Doubleday & Company, Inc.;
Garden City, New York; 1983; page 477.
prodigal (adjective), more prodigal, most prodigal
1. Descriptive of someone who is a spendthrift and reckless with money and other valuable goods: Karl's neighbor has nothing left of his inheritance because of his prodigal behavior and excessive way of living.
2. Referring to the expenditure of large amounts of funds without thinking of the future: There have been rumors that the company's CEO (chief executive officer) has been using prodigal money from the business which he has no right to.
3. Etymology: from Latin prodigere, "to drive forth, to use up, to waste"; derived from Latin prodigus, "spend thrift" and the rare word prodigalitas, from which the words prodigality and prodigal came into English.
Descriptive of excessive and wasteful spending.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Relating to lavish and over distribution of material goods; especially, money.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

prodigal son (s) (noun) (no plural)
The younger son who wasted his inheritance in a parable by Jesus in the Bible (Luke 15:11-32): The prodigal son is forgiven by his father while his obedient and loyal elder brother protests the father's actions.
prodigality (s) (noun), prodigalities (pl)
Lavishness and extravagance in spending: The prodigality of some politicians often results in higher taxes for the citizens and has no real value for the populations.
prodigalize (verb), prodigalizes; prodigalized; prodigalizing
To spend in large amounts or to dispose of: Peggy always prodigalized the birthday and Christmas money that her grandmother gave her by buying unnecessary clothing and other garments.
prodigally (adverb), more prodigally, most prodigally
Descriptive of how something is completely useless or of no value: The prodigally wasteful use of some government expenditures are unjustified and cause more burdens for taxpayers, such as building high ways where very few people live.