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prompted; prompting; prompts

transitive verb

: to move to action : incite
: to assist (one acting or reciting) by suggesting or saying the next words of something forgotten or imperfectly learned : cue
: to serve as the inciting cause of
evidence prompting an investigation
prompter noun


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adjective (1)

: of or relating to prompting actors


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adjective (2)

: being ready and quick to act as occasion demands
: performed readily or immediately
prompt assistance
ˈpräm(p)t-nəs How to pronounce prompt (audio)


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plural prompts ˈpräm(p)ts How to pronounce prompt (audio)
[prompt entry 1] : something that prompts : reminder
[prompt entry 3] : a limit of time given for payment of an account for goods purchased
also : the contract by which this time is fixed
Choose the Right Synonym for prompt

quick, prompt, ready, apt mean able to respond without delay or hesitation or indicative of such ability.

quick stresses instancy of response and is likely to connote native rather than acquired power.

quick reflexes
a keen quick mind

prompt is more likely to connote training and discipline that fits one for instant response.

prompt emergency medical care

ready suggests facility or fluency in response.

backed by a pair of ready assistants

apt stresses the possession of qualities (such as intelligence, a particular talent, or a strong bent) that makes quick effective response possible.

an apt student
her answer was apt and to the point

Examples of prompt in a Sentence

Verb Curiosity prompted her to ask a few questions. Pride prompted his angry response. The evidence prompted a criminal investigation. “Did you hear me?” he prompted when his friend did not respond to his first question. The actor had to be prompted by someone who was standing offstage. The computer prompted me to type in a number. Adjective (2) prompt treatment of snakebites is always advisable our waiter was prompt and courteous despite the fact that the restaurant was understaffed Noun The actor was given a prompt by someone offstage.
Recent Examples on the Web
The plan was delayed in hours-long meetings in the city’s planning commission, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to publicly urge city officials to move the plan forward. Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2024 Global central banks’ dollar holdings fell some 20% from 2002 to 2022, while U.S. sanctions on Russia have prompted China and others to reduce their reliance on the dollar in trade. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 20 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for prompt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prompt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Medieval Latin promptare, from Latin promptus prompt

Adjective (2)

Middle English, from Latin promptus ready, prompt, from past participle of promere to bring forth, from pro- forth + emere to take — more at redeem

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (1)

1784, in the meaning defined above

Adjective (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prompt was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near prompt

Cite this Entry

“Prompt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 verb
: to lead to do something
curiosity prompted her to ask the question
: to remind of something forgotten or poorly learned
prompt an actor
: to be the cause of : inspire
pride prompted the act


2 of 3 adjective
: being ready and quick to act
prompt to answer
: being on time : punctual
prompt in arriving
: done at once : given without delay
prompt assistance
promptly adverb
promptness noun


3 of 3 noun
: something that prompts : reminder

More from Merriam-Webster on prompt

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