Thursday, August 06, 2009


i once got into an argument over the definition of prolific with a friend whilst playing super smash brothers.

for some reason i had always associated 'prolific' with 'undying' or 'living a long time' e.g. methuselah was very prolific, living to be 900 years old, or rasputin was prolific because he just wouldn't die despite everyone's best efforts.

i lost the argument; prolific as my friend defined it was "intellectually productive" i.e. used to describe an author who had written many books.

what reminded me of this was today seeing a definition for the word philoprogenitive which had 'prolific' listed as a synonym. philoprogenitive (philo- meaning "having an affinity for" and progenitus meaning "offspring") means tend to produce many offspring and can refer to plants or animals (e.g. a successful apple tree is very philoprogenitive)

i looked deeper into the definition of prolific and it turns out prolific means this exact same thing - tending to have bountiful offspring/fruit production. in the case of a writer or artist, the 'fruits' of their labor is their books and artworks. somehow the word formed this niche and the general definition faded so it now usually only refers to somebody who produces many intellectual works.


  1. yup. was this me or JT? I think it was both, and we were on the same side. :-p

  2. i think it was both of you and lindsay all telling me i was wrong and you all being correct :-P but jt looked it so i could rest in peace