pros·​pect | \ˈprä-ˌspekt \

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, 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, prə-​ˈspek-​ \ noun

Synonyms for prospect

Synonyms: Noun

command, lookout, outlook, panorama, perspective, view, vista

Synonyms: Verb

explore, hunt, probe, search, skirr

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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


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.


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

The co-sponsors include some 2020 presidential prospects, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "James Comey warns Democrats against socialism: 'Please, please don't lose your minds'," 2 Oct. 2018 If the Orioles insist there is no deal without second baseman Keston Hiura, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect, Stearns should walk away. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Brewers looking to go big with Manny Machado, who is an absolutely perfect fit," 13 July 2018 Congress' prospects for approving anything soon are bleak. CBS News, "Push by liberal Democrats’ to abolish ICE delights GOP," 13 July 2018 The Yankees would only have to pay about $6 million on the final year of his contract, give up a mid-range prospect, and Happ is all theirs for the stretch run. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Yankees' pitching needs mean Manny Machado must wait 'til winter for his pinstripes," 11 July 2018 The Rockies’ top prospect, Rodgers, may not be far behind, and outfielder Sam Hilliard could also be in line. Dom Amore,, "Top Prospects, Hall-Of-Famers' Sons, And Tim Tebow: Highlights From The First Half Of The Yard Goats' Season," 8 July 2018 Another local prospect, Cardinal Gibbons linebacker Yahweh Jeudy, announced a commitment to Kansas State on Wednesday. David Furones,, "Elite Chaminade-Madonna wide-out John Dunmore commits to Penn State," 4 July 2018 Enticed by such prospects, the market values Netflix at $170bn, which is more than Disney. The Economist, "Netflix is moving television beyond time-slots and national markets," 28 June 2018 Today’s Must-Reads Bloomberg’s Alan Crawford ponders the prospect of an EU without Angela Merkel, and says the nativism that has swept much of the continent imperils the German leader and the whole EU project. Ian Wishart,, "Brexit Bulletin: Pandora’s Box," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Welcome to a post-holiday edition of the Detroit Tigers prospects mailbag. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers prospects: Jacob Robson deserves to stay in Triple-A," 5 July 2018 Orioles prospects Ryan Mountcastle, a third baseman, and Alex Wells, a left-handed starting pitcher, have been selected to participate in this month’s All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles prospects Mountcastle, Wells named to play in All-Star Futures Game," 6 July 2018 His success in prospecting for gold has been equally unorthodox. Genesee Keevil, Popular Mechanics, "The Rush: What the World's Greatest Gold Prospector Knows," 17 May 2018 Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press The NASA chief has advocated the White House position of cutting off direct federal funding for the international space station by 2025, but at this point prospects for that option appear dim on Capitol Hill. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Donald Trump to Host Space-Policy Council Promoting Commercial Ventures," 16 June 2018 Vecino's agent is believed to have met with Inter this week amongst all the took of his prospected move., "Agent of Chelsea Target Matias Vecino Meets With Inter Officials to Discuss Contract Extension," 28 June 2018 The recipe is simple: Sun, salty water, seed bio-prospected from the ocean and fertilizer. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Remote Texas algae farm grows a food for the future," 27 June 2018 ICOs occur when units of virtual currencies are made available to investors prospecting for a growth in the currency’s value. Marco Santana,, "Florida CFO: New position will oversee cryptocurrency," 26 June 2018 At least for the next week, top outfield prospects Austin Hays and DJ Stewart won't be part of that group. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles outfield prospects Austin Hays, DJ Stewart land on disabled lists," 30 May 2018

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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Learn More about prospect

Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prospect

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

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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 \

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

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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