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From Latin prōflīgātus (wretched, abandoned), participle of prōflīgō (strike down, cast down), from pro (forward) + fligere (to strike, dash).



profligate (comparative more profligate, superlative most profligate)

  1. Inclined to waste resources or behave extravagantly.
    • 2013, Ben Smith, "[1]", BBC Sport, 19 October 2013:
      Jay Rodriguez headed over and Dani Osvaldo might have done better with only David De Gea to beat and, as Southampton bordered on the profligate, United were far more ruthless.
  2. Immoral; abandoned to vice.
    • 1685, John Dryden, To The Pious Memory of the Accomplish'd Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew
      Made prostitute and profligate the muse.
    • a. 1686, Earl of Roscommon [i.e., Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon]; Samuel Johnson, “The Sixth Ode of the Third Book of Horace”, in The Works of the English Poets. With Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, [], volume X (The Poems of Rochester, Roscommon, and Yalden), London: [] E. Cox; for C. Bathurst, [], published 1779, page 257, OCLC 4254798:
      Time ſenſibly all things impairs; / Our fathers have been worſe than theirs; / And we than ours; next age will ſee / A race more profligate than we / (With all the pains we take) have ſkill enough to be.
  3. (obsolete) Overthrown, ruined.


Derived terms[edit]


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profligate (plural profligates)

  1. An abandoned person; one openly and shamelessly vicious; a dissolute person.
  2. An overly wasteful or extravagant individual.




profligate (third-person singular simple present profligates, present participle profligating, simple past and past participle profligated)

  1. (obsolete) To drive away; to overcome.
    • 1840, Alexander Walker, Woman Physiologically Considered as to Mind, Morals, Marriage, Matrimonial Slavery, Infidelity and Divorce, page 157:
      Such a stipulation would remove one powerful temptation to profligate pennyless seducers, of whom there are too many prowling in the higher circles ;


Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




  1. vocative masculine singular of prōflīgātus