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 Nora Princiotti and Ben Volin discuss the prospects of the Patriots after their first loss in the season against the Ravens in week 9., "“I see Bill in the hallways and he gives me a high-five,” Guerrero said. “He’s great. He’s awesome. He’s gotten treatment. He’s wonderful. He’s been wonderful to me. I can’t say enough good things about him, about Mr. Kraft — the whole Patriots organization. They have been very supportive.”," 15 Nov. 2019 No one should expect that Stone, now facing the prospect of a prison sentence, will turn on Trump and provide incriminating evidence. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "Roger Stone’s Crimes," 15 Nov. 2019 Yet that didn’t stop both Bloomberg’s potential rivals and many in the press from treating the prospect of his candidacy as a major event. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Can Michael Bloomberg Pull Democrats Back toward the Center?," 13 Nov. 2019 Having come to power on the promise to provide bread and end war, the Bolsheviks confronted the prospect of being swept away by hunger. The Economist, "A century ago America saved millions of Russians from starvation," 9 Nov. 2019 Given all the problems that prioritizing a trade deal with the United States could cause — from unpredictability in food supplies to economic chaos — why would a UK government even entertain the prospect of it? Luke Mcgee, CNN, "The UK will never get the US trade deal it wants," 6 Nov. 2019 And as the year comes to a close, winter carries with it the prospect of more potholes. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "'We're not done building yet': Joe Hogsett wins second term as Indianapolis mayor," 5 Nov. 2019 And as Democrats moved to vote on a resolution to hold open hearings on impeachment, Republicans faced the prospect of losing their complaint that the inquiry is being conducted in secret. Anchorage Daily News, "White House official’s firsthand account of Trump call puts GOP in bind, emboldens Democrats," 30 Oct. 2019 But Trump continues to dangle the prospect of placing tariffs on the remaining $150 billion-plus worth of Chinese products, including toys, smartphones and computers, on Dec. 15. cleveland, "In China’s capital of Halloween slime and ooze, the trade war is a scary subject," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 After decades prospecting offshore, oil companies knew how to create stable platforms capable of surviving the high seas. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Floating wind farms just became a serious business," 22 June 2019 The Padres center field prospected collected three more hits Friday, Luis Torrens homered and right-hander Kyle Lloyd threw seven strong innings, keeping Double-A Amarillo’s season alive with a 6-2 win at Midland. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Minors: Amarillo survive another day; Storm can’t close it out; Tri-City advances," 7 Sep. 2019 Seidel: Tigers prospect Jose Azocar may be the best hitter in farm system Cleveland rallied from a 5-2 deficit after Trevor Bauer was pulled without retiring a batter in the fifth, his shortest outing of the season. Detroit Free Press, "Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers bullpen falter in 7-6 loss to Indians," 21 June 2019 So far, the official said, the Republican National Committee has spent close to $20 million on prospecting for new donors and is looking to spend more. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump and R.N.C. Raised $105 Million in 2nd Quarter, a Sign He Will Have Far More Money Than in 2016," 2 July 2019 Smith is one of the top power prospects the Giants added through the draft and the nephew of New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants say pursuit of ‘local flavor’ through MLB Draft was no coincidence," 6 June 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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Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for prospect

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

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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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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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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