pros·​pect | \ ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio) \

Definition of prospect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2a(1) : an extensive view
(2) : a mental consideration : survey
b : a place that commands an extensive view : lookout
c : something extended to the view : scene
d archaic : a sketch or picture of a scene
3 obsolete : aspect
4a : the act of looking forward : anticipation
b : a mental picture of something to come : vision
c : something that is awaited or expected : possibility
d prospects plural
(1) : financial expectations
(2) : chances
5 : a place showing signs of containing a mineral deposit
6a : a potential buyer or customer
b : a likely candidate for a job or position
in prospect
: possible or likely for the future


pros·​pect | \ ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio) , chiefly British prə-ˈspekt \
prospected; prospecting; prospects

Definition of prospect (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to explore an area especially for mineral deposits

transitive verb

: to inspect (a region) for mineral deposits broadly : explore

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Other Words from prospect


prospector \ ˈprä-​ˌspek-​tər How to pronounce prospect (audio) , prə-​ˈspek-​ \ noun

Synonyms for prospect

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for prospect


prospect, outlook, anticipation, foretaste mean an advance realization of something to come. prospect implies expectation of a particular event, condition, or development of definite interest or concern. the prospect of a quiet weekend outlook suggests a forecasting of the future. a favorable outlook for the economy anticipation implies a prospect or outlook that involves advance suffering or enjoyment of what is foreseen. the anticipation of her arrival foretaste implies an actual though brief or partial experience of something forthcoming. the frost was a foretaste of winter

Did You Know?

Since the Latin prefix pro- often means "forward", prospect refers to looking forward. The prospect of a recession may lead investors to pull their money out of the stock market. Graduates of a good law school usually have excellent prospects for finding employment. Prospective students roam campuses with their parents in the year before they plan to enter college.

Examples of prospect in a Sentence

Noun the frightening prospect of going to war She is excited by the prospect of returning to school. Bankruptcy is an unlikely prospect for the company. There was no prospect that the two parties would reach an agreement anytime soon. a young baseball player who's considered a top prospect We haven't decided which car to buy yet. We're still looking at a few prospects. Verb soon all manner of people had arrived in the valley to prospect it for gold
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Belichick can’t keep pushing off the quarterback decision, hoping that Newton somehow regains his MVP form or the perfect prospect eventually falls into the Patriots’ lap., "The time has come: Patriots must draft a quarterback in the first round," 26 Apr. 2021 Trask benefitted from having NFL talent around him at UF, including surefire top-10 draft pick Kyle Pitts at tight end, potential first-round pick Kadarius Toney at wide receiver and another quality NFL prospect at wide receiver in Trevon Grimes. Edgar Thompson,, "UF QB Kyle Trask enters NFL draft on upswing, but more traditional than others in class," 26 Apr. 2021 Smart is also bringing in 6-10 freshman Keeyan Itejere, an intriguing but raw prospect. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette adds the veteran big man it needed. But another newcomer means more of a roster crunch.," 26 Apr. 2021 Lawrence is the type of prospect that comes along once in a generation, on par with Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and John Elway. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "NFL draft preview: Rebuilding Detroit Lions appear to be kicking QB decision to future," 24 Apr. 2021 The move comes amid public opposition to the prospect that former Republican governor and U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue might be named to lead the 340,000-student system. Jeff Amy, ajc, "Georgia university regents pause search for new chancellor," 23 Apr. 2021 Former Kentucky basketball player and NBA Draft prospect Terrence Clark died Thursday, the school confirmed. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Basketball world mourns the death of former Kentucky basketball player Terrence Clarke," 23 Apr. 2021 In his place, Cedar Hill will likely turn to another highly-touted prospect in Cedric Harden Jr., a 6-foot-2 quarterback who will be a junior next year. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, "Spring TXHSFB primer: Top 2021 storylines, potential replacements for 10 area stars, plus notable game dates," 23 Apr. 2021 University of Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacted Thursday night via Twitter to news that Terrence Clarke, a former UK basketball player and 2021 NBA Draft prospect, died earlier in a car accident in Los Angeles at age 19. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, "Kentucky head coach John Calipari 'devastated' over former guard Terrence Clarke's death," 23 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Crawford was participating in the Giants’ instructional league, months after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, he was approached by another Giants prospect playing the same position. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why Brandon Crawford makes mentoring Giants' young talent a personal mission," 20 Mar. 2021 If production at the position continues to lag, the club could turn to prospect Daulton Varsho, who will open the season in the minors. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Breaking down the 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks," 28 Mar. 2021 Left-hander Matthew Boyd started for the Tigers and went four innings before giving way to prospect Matt Manning. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' young arms stand out in 4-0 loss to Toronto Blue Jays in spring training," 15 Mar. 2021 In the seventh, prospect Kody Clemens plated two runs with a triple to center, and Hill added an RBI single. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Michael Fulmer crushed, Tarik Skubal strong in Detroit Tigers' 10-6 loss to Blue Jays," 11 Mar. 2021 Scary thing is, the team still has money and prospect capital to burn, even after guaranteeing Fernando Tatis Jr. $340 million and acquiring Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Is your MLB team in it to win it? Here's 2021's tankers, dreamers and legit World Series contenders," 9 Mar. 2021 The Stars also have veterans Taylor Fedun and Joel Hanley to call on, or prospect Thomas Harley. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Stephen Johns, LTIR, and options for the Dallas Stars if the defenseman doesn’t play this season," 30 Dec. 2020 Nuñez began 2020 as the No. 18 Mets prospect in MLB Pipeline, which is published by, and 25th in Baseball America's 2020 midseason ranking. Henry Schulman,, "Giants pluck right-handed starter Dedniel Nuñez from Mets in Rule 5 draft," 10 Dec. 2020 Brimming with confidence and health, Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren is having quite a season in the Swedish Hockey League. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' Jonatan Berggren tearing up Swedish League; 'game is in slow motion'," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prospect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prospect


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1834, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for prospect


Middle English, from Latin prospectus view, prospect, from prospicere to look forward, exercise foresight, from pro- forward + specere to look — more at pro-, spy

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Time Traveler for prospect

Time Traveler

The first known use of prospect was in the 15th century

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Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for prospect



English Language Learners Definition of prospect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the possibility that something will happen in the future
: an opportunity for something to happen
: someone or something that is likely to succeed or to be chosen



English Language Learners Definition of prospect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to search an area for gold, minerals, oil, etc.


pros·​pect | \ ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio) \

Kids Definition of prospect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is waited for or expected : possibility … he was quite pleased at the prospect of a whole winter of reading travel books …— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins
2 : someone or something that is likely to be successful : a likely candidate a presidential prospect
3 : a wide view The room provides a prospect of sea and land.


prospected; prospecting

Kids Definition of prospect (Entry 2 of 2)

: to explore especially for mineral deposits

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Comments on prospect

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