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 prospector (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 Davis, a Santa Cruz native, is the poster prospect for college players who were impacted when the coronavirus pandemic canceled pro days, on-campus events in which NFL scouts and executives gather to oversee workouts. Eric Branch,, "Cal’s Ashtyn Davis ‘mystery man’ of NFL draft after coronavirus canceled pro day," 3 Apr. 2020 Tillie was also the best shooting prospect among big men in college basketball. Bryan Kalbrosky, azcentral, "2020 NBA mock draft: Projecting every NBA draft pick, from Anthony Edwards to Yoeli Childs," 2 Apr. 2020 The Buckeyes made the cut along with Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M. Turner is a four-star prospect ranked No. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football in Top 11 for 4-star defensive end Shemar Turner: Buckeye Recruiting," 30 Mar. 2020 On Monday, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, reaffirmed that a 30% unemployment rate in America is a realistic prospect. Julia Chatterley For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Congress must act now to prevent an even worse economic crisis," 24 Mar. 2020 The prospect of laying out a table, especially for a big group of guests, can be overwhelming. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How to Mix and Match New and Vintage China," 24 Mar. 2020 McCarty was an even better baseball prospect, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Build-A-Team: Putting together the best Crawfordsville basketball team," 23 Mar. 2020 But the part that is new is the idea of not being able to provide the appropriate care to people who need it or, like, having to choose between patients; that’s a very scary prospect for me, at least. Alvin Melathe, The Atlantic, "Social Distance: On the Front Lines at a New York Hospital," 21 Mar. 2020 But for many Catholics, simply watching Mass, on Sunday as well on St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s Day, the two major feasts next week, is an unsatisfying prospect. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "'I'm so sad': Catholics prepare for a Sunday without Mass thanks to pandemic," 14 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Are there prospects the Cavs are leaning away from? Chris Fedor, cleveland, "How are Cleveland Cavaliers coaches helping players during the coronavirus shutdown? Hey, Chris!," 26 Mar. 2020 Focus on point Many point guard prospects either met with the Pistons or will meet with them later this week. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "NBA draft combine: Detroit Pistons create stir using virtual reality," 17 May 2018 Detroit Tigers prospects Riley Greene and Parker Meadows take batting practice before the exhibition game in Bradenton, Florida, on Feb. 23, 2020. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers 'so frickin' excited' to showcase team in talent-rich Dominican Republic," 6 Mar. 2020 Roche agreed to take me prospecting below the Bossons glacier. The Economist, "Death in the Alps," 20 Dec. 2019 Instead, Liddle prospected local stores and farm markets with the idea of creating a healthy product that could help food-insecure families. NBC News, "This entrepreneur mom is on a mission to eliminate hunger—one granola bar at a time," 21 Feb. 2020 When Detroit Tigers prospect Tarik Skubal took the mound to throw live batting practice Monday morning, general manager Al Avila watched intently from an observation platform. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers observations: Tarik Skubal, other 'big arms' impress in spring training," 17 Feb. 2020 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

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

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

7 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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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

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