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pros·​pect ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio)
: an extensive view
: a mental consideration : survey
: a place that commands an extensive view : lookout
: something extended to the view : scene
archaic : a sketch or picture of a scene
obsolete : aspect
: the act of looking forward : anticipation
: a mental picture of something to come : vision
: something that is awaited or expected : possibility
d prospects plural
: financial expectations
: a place showing signs of containing a mineral deposit
: a potential buyer or customer
: a likely candidate for a job or position


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

intransitive verb

: to explore an area especially for mineral deposits

transitive verb

: to inspect (a region) for mineral deposits
broadly : explore
ˈprä-ˌspek-tər How to pronounce prospect (audio)
in prospect
: possible or likely for the future

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.

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

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
Dalio spent years grooming his protégé Jensen, but even that prospect collapsed, when Dalio caught Jensen talking behind his back, culminating in another elaborate public trial. Tarpley Hitt, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2023 The prospect that the Fed may end its rate hike campaign and eventually cut rates ignited a stock market rally Nov. 14. Christopher Rugaber, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Nov. 2023 Not only is pay for the top tiers of white-collar workers growing more slowly than for the people who serve them coffee and look after their kids, but many of the office elite are facing an entirely different job market—one with fewer prospects and more requirements. Irina Ivanova, Fortune, 14 Nov. 2023 Still, the prospect that their political schism will endure is altering global supply chains. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2023 And then there are those who are relieved by the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the culture won’t be dominated by superheroes anymore. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 13 Nov. 2023 Changing ministers at this late date is unlikely to change the bleak Tory prospects in an election expected next year. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 13 Nov. 2023 In 2020 a lab worker inhaled plutonium oxide powder—a terrifying prospect. Abe Streep, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023 That said, even Ukraine's top general is now talking down the prospect of a significant breakthrough. Tom Soufi Burridge, ABC News, 3 Nov. 2023
Chinese and Australian mining firms are prospecting Greenland in search of rare earth minerals. Stephen Lezak, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 Barrero will have to play more center field with McLain in MLB and prospect Elly De La Cruz nearing a promotion, and Barrero is still adjusting to his new position. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 2 June 2023 But which prospects arriving at Brush and Adams streets might tear us away from obsessing over a certain blue-and-silver squad? Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 8 Aug. 2023 Top Giants prospect Marco Luciano continues to look comfortable at the major league level. Ethan Fuller,, 30 July 2023 Facing 21-year-old Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jacob Misiorowski, Keith blooped the fifth pitch of the at-bat, an 87.1 mph curveball, into center to reach base. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 9 July 2023 Earlier this year, a Mongolian court canceled the permits of another uranium prospecting company that was supported by investment from the Czech Republic. Tuvshinzaya Gantulga, Foreign Affairs, 6 Oct. 2023 Fellow top-20 Orioles prospects César Prieto and Zack Showalter were also sent to the Cardinals in the trade. Jacob Calvin Meyer, Baltimore Sun, 13 Sep. 2023 Rangers prospect Evan Carter recently joined the G-Bag Nation on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] to discuss his MLB debut and his tendency to stick by his equipment in the name of superstition. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prospect.' 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 Latin prospectus view, prospect, from prospicere to look forward, exercise foresight, from pro- forward + specere to look — more at pro-, spy

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1834, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near prospect

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
pros·​pect ˈpräs-ˌpekt How to pronounce prospect (audio)
: a wide view
: looking forward to something : anticipation
the prospect of a good time
: something that is waited for or expected : possibility
what is the prospect of our seeing you again soon?
: a possible buyer or customer
: a likely candidate
a presidential prospect


2 of 2 verb
: to explore especially for mineral deposits
prospecting for gold

More from Merriam-Webster on prospect

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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