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[prood-nt] /ˈprud nt/
wise or judicious in practical affairs; sagacious; discreet or circumspect; sober.
careful in providing for the future; provident:
a prudent decision.
Origin of prudent
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin prūdent- (stem of prūdēns), contraction of prōvidēns provident
Related forms
prudently, adverb
nonprudent, adjective
nonprudently, adverb
preprudent, adjective
preprudently, adverb
superprudent, adjective
unprudent, adjective
unprudently, adverb
Can be confused
prudent, prudential.
1. sensible. 2. economical, thrifty, frugal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prudent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So it happened with Cleopatra, who with the assistance of her mother's prudent counsels, became an amiable girl.

  • He resolved to be as prudent as possible, and avoid, as far as he could, any altercation with Haley.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • On gaining the pine grove, a council was held to devise what was the most prudent step to take.

  • A prudent person, lapsing into a dilemma, is specially discomfitted.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • I love her, but she lacks that prudent hesitancy which so often gives a man his power over circumstances.

British Dictionary definitions for prudent


discreet or cautious in managing one's activities; circumspect
practical and careful in providing for the future
exercising good judgment or common sense
Derived Forms
prudently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin prūdēns far-sighted, contraction of prōvidens acting with foresight; see provident
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prudent

late 14c., from Old French prudent "with knowledge, deliberate" (c.1300), from Latin prudentem (nominative prudens) "knowing, skilled, sagacious, circumspect;" rarely in literal sense "foreseeing;" contraction of providens, present participle of providere "to foresee" (see provide). Related: Prudently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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