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[pruh-lif-ik] /prəˈlɪf ɪk/
producing offspring, young, fruit, etc., abundantly; highly fruitful:
a prolific pear tree.
producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive:
a prolific writer.
profusely productive or fruitful (often followed by in or of):
a bequest prolific of litigations.
characterized by abundant production:
a prolific year for tomatoes.
Origin of prolific
1640-50; < Medieval Latin prōlificus fertile. See prolicide, -fic
Related forms
[pruh-lif-i-kuh-see] /prəˈlɪf ɪ kə si/ (Show IPA),
[proh-luh-fis-i-tee] /ˌproʊ ləˈfɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
prolificness, noun
prolifically, adverb
nonprolific, adjective
nonprolificness, noun
nonprolificacy, noun
nonprolifically, adverb
overprolific, adjective
overprolificness, noun
overprolifically, adverb
unprolific, adjective
unprolificness, noun
unprolifically, adverb
1, 2. teeming, fecund, abundant. See productive.
1. barren. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prolific
  • Soft yellow wintertime flowers are small but prolific and long lasting.
  • Within a few days the prolific economist produced two papers.
  • Some, especially those who are hooked on drugs, are persistent and prolific.
  • About half of its energy comes from burning coal, a prolific producer of greenhouse gases.
  • Such a concentration of power engendered prolific patronage.
  • Even so, thanks to prolific users on flat tariffs, expanding capacity will not necessarily bring in higher revenues.
  • So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab.
  • He is extremely prolific and, for a sportswriter, quite intellectually curious.
  • Over the course of a month, a prolific harvester can earn more than enough cash to live on for an entire year.
  • Wright was vastly prolific, and the curators wisely decided to concentrate on key projects rather than show everything.
British Dictionary definitions for prolific


producing fruit, offspring, etc, in abundance
producing constant or successful results
often foll by in or of. rich or fruitful
Derived Forms
prolifically, adverb
prolificness, prolificacy, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin prōlificus, from Latin prōlēs offspring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for prolific

1640s, from French prolifique (16c.), from Medieval Latin prolificus, from Latin proles "offspring" + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Latin proles is contracted from *pro-oles, from PIE *pro-al-, from *pro- "forth" (see pro-) + *al- "to grow, nourish" (see old). Related: Prolifical (c.1600).

Prolific is in common use, but to make a satisfactory noun from it has passed the wit of man. [Fowler]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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