There’s a pretty cool article over at Signature about commonly misused words.
I refuse to believe that I (and countless others) have been misusing the expression “the prodigal son” for my entire life. Yeah, I get that its Biblical significance is that this was a dude who went out and lived a decadent life, but was received lavishly and thankfully by his father when he returned. When the good son sort of objects, their father explains along the lines that “someone who was lost has been returned to us.”
But I thought that the term’s popular modern usage was different — and that it denoted someone who was extremely successful (even if that contradicts its Biblical meaning).
It’s also a key metaphor and a key line at the climax of the greatest science fiction film of all time — “Blade Runner.”
TYRELL: The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You’re the prodigal son. You’re quite a prize!
ROY: I’ve done questionable things.
TYRELL: Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time!