“Be careful! It may be fun at night, but profligate behavior is likely to leave you penniless (and hungover) the next day.”

As used in the sentence above, what is the best overall definition of profligate?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Exhibiting alcoholism or addictive tendencies in general
Choice B - Having a tendency to desire and purchase fine things
Choice C - Excessive or extravagant to the point of recklessness
Choice D - Donning expensive but wonderfully stylish fur coats


Profligate (adjective) – wildly excessive or extravagant to the point of recklessness; or, wasteful when it comes to finances and other resources

Profligate (noun) – an extravagant or debauched person; a libertine

GRE pro tips:

The word profligate is a serious multitasker. It can be used both as an adjective and a noun and has a wide range of applications. Profligate, as an adjective, can refer to different types of excessive or extravagant behavior, including financial behavior – e.g. “profligate spending” (wasteful spending); or, social behavior – e.g. a “profligate lifestyle” (excessive consumption, partying, or other indulgent behaviors). Likewise, as a noun, profligate refers to a person who is excessive or extravagant – typically in several senses of the word. A profligate will likely spend money wildly and wastefully, consume decadently and needlessly, or otherwise be extremely self-indulgent. After a night of profligate behavior, a profligate often wakes up penniless and with a raging hangover. Remember: profligates rarely profit.

Example sentences:

“The era was marked by profligate behavior, so he stood out because of the purity of his married life, temperate habits, and a sincere piety.”

“Her shopping sprees were legendary, earning her a reputation as a profligate and a spendthrift.”