The actual meaning of the word ‘Prodigal’ is ‘lavish’ or ‘extravagant’. Most of the time it is in connection to the attitude of the person who is spending what is in his (or her) possession. It does not mean ‘lost’.
That is something that I only found out when I checked the actual meaning from the dictionary. The problem stems from the fact that it comes from one of the most popular (if not the most popular) parable (story) which Jesus Christ told. It is recorded for us in Luke 15:11-32. In that parable, the younger son is said to have spent his possessions in ‘prodigal living’ (based on the NKJV translation). The younger son was also tagged with the label ‘lost’ by his father, for he left the confines of the father’s house in order to lose himself from his father’s control.
The two terms were confused because many in the church would refer to that parable as either, “The Prodigal Son” or “The Lost Son”. Totally different words.
Now I know 😛