• Existing in ample or great amounts


Have you ever had so much of something that it verged on too much? Maybe you bought more salsa than chips for your party, or you were so averse to a sunburn that you brought practically every tube of sunscreen you own to the beach, but in any case, you erred on the side of excess just to ensure that you were well-supplied. In these instances, you elected a profuse amount of something to preclude even the remotest possibility of running out.

Profuse describes something as being found or exhibited in abundant quantities, and extends to material and immaterial things alike. For instance, the amount of confetti littering a street after a parade could be profuse, but the bits of unsolicited (if well-meaning) advice from your nosy and talkative friend could also be characterized as profuse. In fact, just about anything that one can possibly have a large amount of can be noted as profuse.

Often, profuse is used to convey a connotation of not merely abundance but over-abundance. In the foregoing examples, a profuse amount of confetti might imply that the parade could have been just as festive and far less messy with half as much confetti, or a profuse amount of advice could suggest that you would rather the advisor keep it to themselves a lot of the time. When profuse leans on this connotation, though, the context usually indicates this pointedly enough that the nuance can be appreciated.

Example: The stars visible in the sky in the country are profuse compared to what city-dwellers can see.

Example: He spent a profuse amount of money on his new car.


The Latin root for the word profuse, profusus, means “opulent” or “extravagant,” and comes from the word profundere, meaning literally “to pour forth.” This word is composed of the prefix pro-, meaning “forth,” and fundere, meaning “to pour.” The term profuse came into English to mean “lavish” in the early 1400s, and adopted its sense of meaning “plentiful” in the early 1600s.

Derivative Words

Profusely: The adverb iteration of profuse describes when an action exhibits a plentiful nature or result.

Example: He apologized profusely for arriving late to the meeting for the third time in a row.

Profuseness: This noun form characterizes the state of abundance that something has.

Example: The profuseness of leftover pastries signaled that the bakers had made too many that morning.

Profusion: Like profuseness, profusion is also a noun signifying an ample state of a thing.

Example: The party featured such a profusion of hors d'oeuvres that she doubted she could try them all before becoming full.

Example: The profusion of opinions available on the Internet allows even seemingly the most idiosyncratic to find cohorts.

In Literature

From the New York Times's article, A Sumptuous Surrealist Moment in Manhattan:

“Fields of Dream: The Surrealist Landscape,” open through Saturday, blankets the walls at Di Donna, a gallery one flight up from the Carlyle Room, with 68 works by 31 artists, from the movement’s best-known practitioners to acolytes. Most of the material on view has never been exhibited in the United States.

The Helly Nahmad Gallery, at street level, has mounted the equally profuse “Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity,” through Jan. 30, built around 22 paintings from the 1920s by Giorgio de Chirico, whose haunting canvases from the 1910s spawned Surrealism.

This write-up of a pair of surrealist gallery openings notes that while the first one makes for an extensive collection of landmark works, the second one constitutes just as ample, or profuse, an offering as the first.


  • Profuse is (almost) more than you can use.

  • Most prefer their supplies to be profuse than insufficient.


Abundance, Things

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of profuse. Did you use profuse in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.