The Meaning of Prudent: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered about the definition of prudent? This article will provide you with all of the info you need on the word prudent, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word prudent mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and other sources like Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word prudent is an adjective that means sensible, wise and careful. Someone who is prudent has good judgment, wisdom, sound judgment, discernment, and common sense in all circumstances. The word prudent is two syllables – pru-dent, and the pronunciation of prudent is ˈpruːdənt. Many things can be prudent, like prudent hesitation, prudent rulers, a prudent manager of money, a prudent investment, prudent expenditure, prudent career moves in one’s self-interest, prudent suggestions, and more. The word prudent has many related words including prudence, prudently, prudential, and prude. The word prudence is also a woman’s name. This name is not very popular in the modern day but was popular in the 20th century. 

Many languages around the word also contain words that mean prudent. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look similar to the word prudent. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. Cognates are when two words in different languages look and sound similar, and also have the same meaning. This list of translations of prudent is provided by Word Sense

  •  German: umsichtig‎, vorsichtig‎
  •  Russian: рассуди́тельный‎, благоразу́мный‎, осторо́жный‎
  •  Italian: prudente‎
  •  Turkish: ihtiyatlı‎, tedbirli‎, sakıngan‎, önlemli‎, sakıntılı‎
  •  French: prudent‎
  •  Finnish: harkitsevainen‎, varovainen‎, viisas‎
  •  Dutch: voorzichtig‎, omzichtig‎, vooruitziend‎, prudent‎
  •  Egyptian Arabic: حريص‎ (ḥarīṣ)
  •  Portuguese: prudente‎
  •  Swedish: förtänksam‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: glic‎
  •  Mandarin: 謹慎‎, 谨慎‎ (jǐnshèn), 慎重‎ (shènzhòng)
  •  Maori: matawhaiti‎
  •  Arabic: حَرِيص‎, حَكِيم‎
  •  Japanese: 慎重‎ (しんちょう, shinchō)

What is the origin of the word prudent?

According to Etymonline, the word prudent has been used since late c14 Middle English and comes from the Middle French and Old French prudent as well as the Latin prūdent, Latin prūdēns, Latin prudentem, the nominative prudens. This comes from the Latin providens. The contraction of prōvidens is the present participle of providere/present participle of prōvidēre and past participle of prōvideō. This comes from the Latin prefix pro and the Latin videre, from Proto-Indo-European roots weid. One can add the suffixes ly, tial and ence to make the related words prudently (adv.), prudential (adj.), prude and prudence (n.)

How can the word prudent be used in a sentence?

The word prudent can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to remember their definitions and add them to your vocabulary. You can also try making quizzes or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different English words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of prudent to get you started.

The prudent Princeton University student exhibited wise forethought and behavior. She always studied her hardest. 

The family was prudent about the big driver of transmission events. They avoided public places like subway cars and always took care for social distancing, following prudent public safety measures. 

He was very prudent about money matters and practical matters in his line of conduct. The wise thing he did was invest when he was young in lodging accounts. 

The prudent young woman, Cate, had extreme foresight. She wanted to get into copyright law and had done internships at Harpercollins Publishers and William Collins Sons by the time she was 18.

What are synonyms and antonyms of prudent?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word prudent. These are called synonyms, which can be used interchangeably with the word prudent. Learning synonyms is a great way to improve your English vocabulary. You can also use synonyms to add variety to your writing. This list of synonyms of prudent is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  sensible
  •  shrewd
  •  judicious
  •  practical
  •  wise
  •  wary
  •  far-sighted
  •  economical
  •  diplomatic
  •  insightful
  •  pragmatic
  •  aware
  •  well-advised
  •  careful
  •  circumspect
  •  leery
  •  rational
  •  discreet
  •  canny
  •  niggardly
  •  realistic
  •  strategic
  •  reasonable
  •  sensitive
  •  miserly
  •  perspicacious
  •  percipient
  •  mindful
  •  thrifty
  •  guarded
  •  economizing
  •  on guard
  •  prudential
  •  penny-pinching
  •  perceptive
  •  safe
  •  circumspective
  •  vigilant
  •  scrimping
  •  acute
  •  deliberate
  •  levelheaded
  •  down-to-earth
  •  unadventurous
  •  discerning
  •  responsible
  •  smart
  •  provident
  •  advisable
  •  clever
  •  forehanded
  •  heedful
  •  intelligent
  •  thoughtful
  •  astute
  •  conservative
  •  farsighted
  •  considerate
  •  commonsensical
  •  sparing
  •  sage
  •  judgmatic
  •  mean
  •  forethoughtful
  •  cautious
  •  caution
  •  learned
  •  saving
  •  tactful
  •  regardful
  •  delicate
  •  sapient
  •  precautious
  •  sober
  •  observant
  •  expedient
  •  well
  •  gingerly
  •  chary
  •  watchful
  •  cheap
  •  prescient
  •  frugal
  •  desirable
  •  sane
  •  sagacious
  •  politic
  •  moderate
  •  discriminating
  •  sound
  •  stingy
  •  prepared
  •  foresighted
  •  enlightened
  •  tactical
  •  alert
  •  attentive
  •  cautiousness
  •  logical
  •  parsimonious
  •  prudent 
  •  worldly-wise

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as prudent. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another easy way to expand your vocabulary. These antonyms of prudent are also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  abstracted
  •  stupid
  •  impolitic
  •  careless
  •  casual
  •  absent-minded
  •  spendthrift
  •  absurd
  •  lax
  •  negligent
  •  unmindful
  •  profligate
  •  inconsiderate
  •  imprudent
  •  incautious
  •  extravagant
  •  preposterous
  •  nonsensical
  •  irresponsible
  •  thoughtless
  •  crazy
  •  ridiculous
  •  oblivious
  •  insane
  •  mindless
  •  improvident
  •  inadvertent
  •  injudicious
  •  hasty
  •  heedless
  •  inattentive
  •  remiss
  •  forgetful
  •  wasteful
  •  expensive
  •  reckless
  •  prodigal
  •  unwise
  •  inaccurate
  •  unthinking
  •  rash
  •  contemptuous
  •  foolish
  •  uneconomical
  •  silly
  •  mad
  •  immoderate
  •  indiscreet
  •  unreasonable
  •  offhand 
  •   loose
  •  perfunctory
  •  brash
  •  outrageous
  •  unguarded
  •  adventurous
  •  as mad as a march hare
  •  witless
  •  dippy
  •  sloppy
  •  uncircumspect
  •  pococurante
  •  unbalanced
  •  costly
  •  visceral
  •  inadvisable
  •  unconcerned
  •  dumb
  •  indolent
  •  uncareful
  •  idiotic
  •  indulgent
  •  unheeding
  •  slipshod
  •  lavish
  •  unreflective
  •  fanciful
  •  away with the fairies
  •  cursory
  •  wild
  •  excessive
  •  barking mad
  •  harebrained
  •  bizarre
  •  implausible
  •  ill-considered
  •  indifferent
  •  foolhardy
  •  lunatic
  •  brave
  •  disregardful
  •  daft
  •  regardless
  •  brainless
  •  rabid
  •  napping
  •  unobservant
  •  ludicrous
  •  shortsighted
  •  nonchalant

Overall, the word prudent means having caution and good judgment. This 14th century adj. Is French and Latin in origin. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today!


  1. prudent: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Prudent synonyms – 1 433 Words and Phrases for Prudent | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Prudent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  4. Prudent antonyms – 1 171 Opposites of Prudent | Power Thesaurus 
  5. prudent | Origin and meaning of prudent | Online Etymology Dictionary