Productive describes a person or thing whose output, in the form of work, products, or positive consequences, is of a quantity to be valuable or profitable. A productive person accomplishes a lot in a day. Productive soil can generate an ample crop. Prolific suggests production of an exceptional amount, often at a fast pace. It’s most frequently used of creative workers–writers, composers, painters, inventors, directors (a prolific composer, who composed over 1000 works in his lifetime), although it is also applied to production of offspring (prolific apple orchard) and many other cases of profuse generation.
The verb shorten is used a few different ways: you can shorten a dress or a pair of pants, which means that you are reducing physical length, or you can shorten a performance or a travel route, which means you are reducing duration. The synonym curtail means “to cut short": measures to curtail the pandemic. But it’s often used with a meaning closer to “limit,” with the suggestion of deprivation: The court’s decision curtailed Congress’s ability to pass legislation. Early uses of the verb were in reference to the docking, or shortening, of an animal’s tail; such an animal was known as a curtal.
When we describe something as explosive, we usually mean one of two things: that the item under discussion is designed or likely to explode in the literal sense, as in an explosive device, or that that it’s likely to lead to violence or hostility, as in an explosive issue. The synonym volatile emphasizes instability and unpredictability; volatile market conditions fluctuate sharply and regularly, and someone with a volatile disposition is mercurial and flighty. Where volatile overlaps the most with explosive is in discussions of unstable situations, as ones marked by strained relations or elevated tensions, that threaten to break out into open violence: a volatile political situation.