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 prospector (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 The prospect of a generation’s unrealistic idealism curdling, though, is not what most worries other Democrats about a Sanders candidacy. The Economist, "Iowa overShadowed The shambolic Iowa caucuses did little to unite the Democrats," 6 Feb. 2020 While the prospect alone is exciting for the family, the effort itself is noteworthy, the Mallorys said. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A family farm in Eagle might be catering Brantley Gilbert's concert at Fiserv Forum," 4 Feb. 2020 Landsman said the prospect of two entities granting incentives in the city wouldn't be ideal. Max Londberg,, "City-Cincinnati schools impasse on incentives closer to ending, as council panel OKs deal," 4 Feb. 2020 The 3-star prospect was also the Coastal Alabama Player of the Year and the Super All-State Player of the year. Ben Thomas |, al, "Mr. Football runner-up Kris Abrams-Draine commits to SEC East school," 31 Jan. 2020 Such a power, however, would open the door to input from property owners, a prospect that bill supporters say is only fair but one that gives some legal observers pause. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana has 45 miles of Lake Michigan shore. Lawmakers kick up sand about who owns it.," 30 Jan. 2020 So for Iranian Americans, the prospect of war is not the latest bombshell in the news cycle, destined to be swept away by the next breaking event. Ava Johnson, Teen Vogue, "Iranian Americans Are Still Worried About the Prospect of War," 27 Jan. 2020 With piccata in your arsenal, the prospect of yet another hardy winter veg is a lot less bleak, and a ho-hum crisper-drawer clean-out can be a proper dressed-vegetable side dish. Caroline Lange, Bon Appétit, "Piccata Makes Any Winter Veg Taste Like It's on Spring Break," 24 Jan. 2020 For a generation of youngsters who had taken campus recruitment as almost a birthright, the prospect of not having the opportunity of employment is bringing back a despondency that their parents had faced in the decades before the 1990s. S. Gopikrishna Warrier, Quartz India, "Like unchecked growth, economic decline too can have environmental fallouts in India," 20 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His example of prospecting via merger led to the acquisition of three majors by other majors: Texaco by Chevron, Mobil Oil by Exxon and Standard Oil of Ohio by British Petroleum. Chris Power, Washington Post, "T. Boone Pickens, Texas oil tycoon who led legendary corporate raids, dies at 91," 13 Sep. 2019 If the project moved ahead, then his company would conduct the site’s prospecting work. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 Giants prospect Jacob Heyward, kid brother of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, was ejected for arguing a call by a robot umpire. John Shea,, "Robo umps need work: Giants prospect Jacob Heyward ejected after bad call," 19 Oct. 2019 Sharks prospect Joachim Blichfeld scored 2:55 into the third period to tie the game 3-3. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "Sharks fall to Anaheim Ducks in preseason opener," 17 Sep. 2019 The coal for which Roy Karlsen prospected will, most likely, never be extracted. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 But Olczyk’s path to becoming an elite hockey player was temporarily detoured as a teenager when he was cut from a youth prospects camp. Steve Reaven,, "Eddie Olczyk shares his journey during Hockey Night in Barrington," 26 Oct. 2019 Prior to his loss to Conwell, Day suffered a unanimous decision loss to prospect Carlos Adames and won six fights in a row before that, according to BoxRec. Fox News, "Boxer Patrick Day, 27, dies days after brutal KO," 17 Oct. 2019 Joel was a past officer of the Meriden Mineral Club for many years and spent years prospecting the hills of Central CT., "Joel I. Sweet," 13 Oct. 2019

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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prospect


How to pronounce prospect (audio)

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


How to pronounce prospect (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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