Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun proj·ect \ˈprä-ˌjekt, -jikt also ˈprō-\

Simple Definition of project

  • : a planned piece of work that has a specific purpose (such as to find information or to make something new) and that usually requires a lot of time

  • : a task or problem in school that requires careful work over a long period of time

Full Definition of project

  1. 1 :  a specific plan or design :  scheme

  2. 2 obsolete :  idea

  3. 3 :  a planned undertaking: as a :  a definitely formulated piece of research b :  a large usually government-supported undertaking c :  a task or problem engaged in usually by a group of students to supplement and apply classroom studies

  4. 4 :  a usually public housing development consisting of houses or apartments built and arranged according to a single plan

Examples of project

  1. <an ambitious project to develop the city's waterfront>

Origin of project

Middle English projecte, from Medieval Latin projectum, from Latin, neuter of projectus, past participle of proicere to throw forward, from pro- + jacere to throw — more at jet

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of project

plan, design, plot, scheme, project mean a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end. plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation <plans for a house>. design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony <a design for a new dress>. plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions <the plot of the play>. scheme stresses calculation of the end in view and may apply to a plan motivated by craftiness and self-interest <a scheme to defraud the government>. project often stresses imaginative scope and vision <a project to develop the waterfront>.



verb pro·ject \prə-ˈjekt\

Simple Definition of project

  • : to plan, calculate, or estimate (something) for a time in the future

  • : to cause (light, a picture, a movie, etc.) to appear on a surface

  • : to have or show (a particular quality, image, etc., that can be seen by other people)

Full Definition of project

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to devise in the mind :  design b :  to plan, figure, or estimate for the future

  3. 2 :  to throw or cast forward :  thrust

  4. 3 :  to put or set forth :  present for consideration

  5. 4 :  to cause to jut out

  6. 5 :  to cause (light or shadow) to fall into space or (an image) to fall on a surface

  7. 6 :  to reproduce (as a point, line, or area) on a surface by motion in a prescribed direction

  8. 7 :  to display outwardly especially to an audience

  9. 8 :  to attribute (one's own ideas, feelings, or characteristics) to other people or to objects <a nation is an entity on which one can project many of the worst of one's instincts — Times Literary Supplement>

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 1 :  to jut out :  protrude

  12. 2 a :  to come across vividly :  give an impression b :  to make oneself heard clearly

pro·ject·able play \-ˈjek-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of project

  1. He projected next year's costs as being slightly higher than this year's.

  2. It's difficult to project funding needs so far into the future.

  3. an athlete who projects a positive image to young people

  4. We need an actor who projects a tough-guy image.

Origin of project

Anglo-French projecter, from Latin projectus, past participle

First Known Use: 15th century

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb pro·ject \prə-ˈjekt\

Medical Definition of project

  1. :  to attribute or assign (something in one's own mind or a personal characteristic) to a person, group, or object <the patient projected hostility onto the therapist>

  2. intransitive verb

  3. :  to connect by sending nerve fibers or processes <cells of the lateral geniculate body project to the back part of the cerebral cortex>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up project? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.