Definition of prodigy in English:



  • 1[often with modifier] A young person with exceptional qualities or abilities.

    ‘a Russian pianist who was a child prodigy in his day’
    • ‘So when we look at genius or child prodigies or musical geniuses or idiot savants, these are clues to the mystery of that infinitely creative mind that we can tap into.’
    • ‘Both were child prodigies in chess, quickly rising to their respective nations' top slots.’
    • ‘Thick-skinned, he fails to heed their hints about getting a replacement, even when they turn up at his house with Tom, a hot young guitar prodigy.’
    • ‘He was a child prodigy who died young and yet he wrote a phenomenal amount of music.’
    • ‘A young poet prodigy is basking in royal approval after receiving a message from the Queen.’
    • ‘Western cultures tend to praise those who make difficult tasks appear easy because of their own exceptional ability, as in the child prodigy phenomenon.’
    • ‘There is an urgent need to endorse intelligence; this, in part, involves identifying chess prodigies.’
    • ‘Having eclipsed the record of Anand to become the youngest grandmaster from the country, the chess prodigy is now gunning for greater glory.’
    • ‘Nash is a young math prodigy who shows up at Princeton with the amazing ability to see numbers in a most visual way, handy for storyshowing in this age of effects.’
    • ‘From child prodigy to intelligence consultant the flight has been quick.’
    • ‘The story begins in Russia, where the young chess prodigy tore through distinguished grand master opposition like a sickle through soft grain.’
    • ‘Child prodigy historians or sociologists would almost be a contradiction in terms.’
    • ‘The harmonica prodigy kicks out a foot-stomping blues bonanza to break up the tender anecdotes.’
    • ‘A young musical prodigy from Keighley is to showcase her talents to raise awareness of the devastating effects of cancer on teenagers.’
    • ‘By age 7, Nikolay was already recognized as a young chess prodigy, and at age 11, he was invited to one of the best chess schools in the Ukraine.’
    • ‘Maybe so, but when LeBron entered the ninth grade at his new school, St Vincent-St Mary, at least one international sports agency inquired about the young basketball prodigy who was becoming the talk of Akron.’
    • ‘At 18, the two young math prodigies shared not only looks and last names, but identical intellects.’
    • ‘Ditka transforms the team from losers to winners through a variety of strategies, including the acquisition of two young Italian soccer prodigies.’
    • ‘The more research she did, the more fascinated she became with the complicated 18th century child prodigy, virtuoso, hyper-prolific genius and failed priest!’
    • ‘The senior Gretzky still lives in the house where Wayne grew up; a swimming pool has replaced the famous backyard practice rink that Walter built for his young prodigy years ago.’
    child genius, genius, wonder child, mastermind, virtuoso
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    1. 1.1An outstanding example of a particular quality.
      ‘Germany seemed a prodigy of industrial discipline’
      • ‘Van Schurman was a prodigy of linguistic skills.’
      • ‘She was a colossus in all her limbs - a marvel of strength and a prodigy of clumsiness.’
      • ‘In the local fashion world, designer Oscar Lawalata is something of a prodigy.’
      • ‘College football is littered with examples of coaches who were prodigies one year and idiots the next.’
      • ‘Chirac praised the bridge's designers and builders for creating ‘a prodigy of art and architecture a new emblem of French civil engineering’.’
      • ‘Unlike the neoconservative apologists for the Republican attempt to rip off the poor, he is a genuinely original thinker, as well as a prodigy of learning.’
      • ‘Certainly I was no technical prodigy, but I was comfortable around machinery.’
      • ‘At 79, she is a prodigy of youthful energy in hoisting a hefty bundle of old tricks.’
      • ‘It is a fine example of the so-called prodigy buildings built by the richest and most intellectually advanced men.’
      • ‘After all, there were only four of them and just because they weren't prodigies like their counterparts didn't mean that they didn't have any skill to offer.’
      model, classic example, paragon, paradigm, epitome, exemplar, ideal, prototype, archetype, type
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    2. 1.2An amazing or unusual thing, especially one out of the ordinary course of nature.
      ‘omens and prodigies abound in Livy's work’


Late 15th century (denoting something extraordinary considered to be an omen): from Latin prodigium portent.