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

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 bill is expected to pass easily in the House, but its prospects are less certain in the Senate. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "House panel votes to replenish 9/11 victim fund," 12 June 2019 And while he's clearly energized by the prospect of ending energy poverty, one topic above all causes his eyes to light up the most: his wife, Kristine, and their daughter, Ruth. Jeremy Bradley, CBS News, "This engineer and humanitarian aims to end "energy poverty"," 12 June 2019 That philosophy is subject to change, of course, but holding on to their top prospects has worked well in recent years. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Rockies Mailbag: Should GM Jeff Bridich consider trading homegrown talent for a starting pitcher?," 11 June 2019 With this in mind, Emery will surely consider giving the young forward a run in the first team and the Gunners' fans are undoubtedly eager to see how much one of their hottest prospects has improved during his year away., "Arsenal Loan Players: How They Got on Away From the Emirates During the 2018/19 Season," 10 June 2019 Its prospects in Mexico’s Congress are good, given the support of Lopez Obrador, whose party controls the nation’s legislative branch. Anna Edgerton, Fortune, "Democrats Hold Out on USMCA as Trump Walks Back Mexico Tariffs," 10 June 2019 Cease, their top prospect, is 5-2 with a 3.46 ERA at Charlotte and last pitched on June 4th, going five innings in a win over Gwinnett.. Paul Sullivan,, "White Sox starter Dylan Covey placed on IL with shoulder inflammation," 9 June 2019 Notable: Potentially the most intriguing Day 2 draft pick, Baseball America ranks Fitterer as their 60th overall prospect. Wells Dusenbury,, "Marlins continue targeting college bats on Day 2 of MLB draft; land intriguing HS pitcher," 4 June 2019 Industry executives have said that Huawei Technologies’ involvement in Huawei Marine could harm its prospects in coming years, if the U.S. and its allies step up efforts to exclude it from involvement in projects connecting to their shores. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "Huawei Selling Stake in Undersea-Cable Firm as U.S. Pressure Mounts," 3 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Almost a century later, their modern-day descendants are prospecting for the more exotic materials that have become the latest flash point in the U.S.-China trade war. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "China hints it will choke off U.S. ‘rare earths’ access. But it’s not that easy.," 11 June 2019 Almost a century later, their modern-day descendants are prospecting for the more exotic materials that have become the latest flash point in the U.S.-China trade war. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "China hints it will choke off U.S. ‘rare earths’ access. But it’s not that easy.," 10 June 2019 The game swung fully to the Rays an inning later, when lefty Daniel Stumpf coughed up a pair of home runs, one to former Tigers prospect Willy Adames and another by d'Arnaud. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Daniel Norris struggles, then gets 'the life back on my heater' in loss," 6 June 2019 Shale drillers in the Permian Basin are producing vast amounts of gas as a byproduct of prospecting for oil. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "In Booming Oil Field, Natural Gas Can Be Free," 27 Dec. 2018 The re-election effort invests about $1 million a month on ads prospecting for new supporters, and the president now has data for 20 million Americans, according to his campaign. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Small Campaign Donors Are Gift That Keeps Giving," 18 Nov. 2018 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

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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Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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 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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