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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from prospect


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

Synonyms for prospect

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun McCullough, who attends Bloomington South, is IU’s second verbal pledge for the class, following Georgia edge-rushing prospect Denzel Moore. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "2023 four-star recruit Daeh McCullough commits to IU football," 14 Apr. 2021 If the Ravens can afford to take on a more developmental prospect next season, the 6-5, 313-pound Hudson might prove worth the wait. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens draft preview: Why a highly rated ILB, blocking TE and versatile RB could be surprise picks," 14 Apr. 2021 Entries include Olympia football prospect Victor Jones and his teammate, De’Andre Robinson, the area discus leader with a 149-3 throw. Buddy Collings,, "Evans, Timber Creek, Bishop Moore teams to watch in district track," 14 Apr. 2021 Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock was once considered likely to be nominated for the job permanently, but that prospect has been clouded by Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and other senators calling on President Biden to bring in new FDA leadership. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "White House Expands List of Potential FDA Commissioners," 14 Apr. 2021 National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming rates McAdoo a 4-star prospect. Richard Davenport, Arkansas Online, "McAdoo reopens his recruitment," 13 Apr. 2021 But the prospect that someone could recognize him should still give you pause. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "Welcome (Back) to Depresh Mode," 13 Apr. 2021 The running back came to Ohio State in 2020 to contend for a national championship and rejuvenate his NFL Draft prospect status. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Will Trey Sermon pick up in the NFL where he left off for Ohio State?," 13 Apr. 2021 But Biden simultaneously faces the prospect that almost all of his legislative initiatives revolving around social, cultural and racial equity issues, from immigration to gun control and LGBTQ rights, could die in the Senate. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "Why Biden is making more progress on economic than social issues," 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The Rangers eventually turned to prospect Leody Taveras, who impressed them enough to be seen as a potential 2021 starter. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Why the Rangers didn’t tender a contract to 2019 team MVP Danny Santana," 2 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prospect

Time Traveler for prospect

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on prospect

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!