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the prodigal son

One who has returned after spending time away doing or pursuing something that was not condoned by the family or organization they had left, and who is now repentant for their actions. The phrase comes from a parable in the Bible about a son who leaves his father to seek his fortune and returns humbled. Well, looky here, the prodigal son has returned. Guess you didn't like that fancy new company that poached you last year.
See also: prodigal, son

prodigal son

a person who leaves home to lead a spendthrift and extravagant way of life but later makes a repentant return.
The biblical parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11–32 tells the story of the spendthrift younger son of a wealthy man who leaves home and wastes all his money. When he repents of his extravagant ways and returns home, he is joyfully welcomed back by his father. See also kill the fatted calf (at fatted).
See also: prodigal, son

a/the prodigal ˈson

(formal, disapproving or humorous) a person who leaves home as a young man and wastes his money and time on a life of pleasure, but who is later sorry about this and returns to his family: All the family went to the airport to welcome home the prodigal son.This expression comes from a story in the Bible.
See also: prodigal, son
References in periodicals archive ?
Wordsworth's sonnet typically begins with an apparent plenitude (conveyed, just as in his sonnet on Westminster Bridge, through negation)--"While not a leaf seems faded; while the fields,/with ripening harvest prodigally fair"--and then reveals that this fullness in fact covers up for death: "this nipping air, / Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields / His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields / Of bitter change.
The one who promised God's wrath on those who do not keep his Commandments is the same who taught that God is a father who loves his children prodigally and without condition.
From the Soviet side, all the declassified information made available to date confirms that the perceived strategic interests of the rulers of the United States (and not Stalin's expansionist aims) were the driving force squandering the opportunity to build a united demilitarized Germany in the heart of Europe, avoid the postwar division of the continent, and prevent a prodigally wasteful arms race.
prodigally mis-spend them in banquetting and belly-cheare .
On a virgin continent, people could be free, prodigally free, to pursue their individual ends and celebrate their achievements.
To even hint at the contrary disgusts us and is a grave injustice to an ACM volunteer who has given freely and prodigally of his time.
Each grapples satirically with war and its conundrums: Mamelles playfully posits a switch in traditional gender roles, with the self-proclaimed feminist Therese growing a beard, liberating her breasts (they're balloons), and, as General Tiresias, declaring war on childbirth as, meanwhile, her not-to-be-defeated husband produces, in a single day, 40,049 prodigally talented babies all on his own.
Modigliani retained control of his drawings (some of which were among his best works) which he continued to give prodigally away or to sell for five francs or a drink or two in the cafes of Montparnasse.
Petersburg, first as a dancer (1847) and then as a prodigally productive choreographer of over fifty ballets, between 1855 and 1903.
Could find commodious place for every God, Promptly received, as prodigally brought From the surrounding countries, at the choice Of all adventurers.
From the Nevilles' mix of reverence, disappointment and humor as they unfolded tales of his preternatural musical insights and recurrent bouts of mental instability, far-reaching talent and self-destructiveness, it was clear that for them, as for so many New Orleans types, Booker represented one of the fullest flowerings of the prodigally lush garden of delights that grows in the Big Easy.
On Wexford's smaller stage, Thaddeus Strassberger's prodigally inventive production seemed tighter, if occasionally more cramped; and he'd rethought the once-chaotic finale to happy advantage.
Caravaggio and his followers lovingly painted the fruit on which they let their floridly dark-skinned urchins loose: torn pomegranates prodigally spilling their transparent capsules, dimpled split peaches, cut water-melons, their seeds dangling loose in a drench of sweetness and refreshment.
He is indebted already to Anthonio 'in money and in love'--the two are not the same, yet are closely associated, showing how the former could become a token for the latter--yet his 'cheefe care' is with justice: how 'to come fairely of from the great debts / wherein my time something too prodigally / Hath left me gagd .
However, few of the key texts are readily available, and this anthology will reveal to non-specialists a period of prodigally inventive experimentation in a whole range of modes.