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 Piscotty’s status will determine whether the A’s can include top prospect Jesús Luzardo in the postseason. Susan Slusser,, "Quick change from Raiders to A’s ‘miraculous’ after rain," 16 Sep. 2019 The thirty-one-year-old Cabán seemed an unlikely prospect to take on Katz and the Queens Democratic machine. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 The nine-game slate will facilitate giving prospects lots of looks. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is encouraged as camp begins. Here's why," 15 Sep. 2019 Bednar said former elite prospect Valeri Nichushkin reported to training game and went through physicals and testing Saturday. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Tyson Jost has found more support and has big plans for himself, the Avs," 15 Sep. 2019 After kindness, men almost universally favored physical attractiveness and women chose good financial prospects. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "Here's What Young People All Over the World Say They Want Most in a Partner," 13 Sep. 2019 This week, four women officiated National Hockey League prospect tournaments in arenas throughout the United States. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "In the know: Women in the news 9/9-9/13," 13 Sep. 2019 These 2020 prospects have already been on campus this month: Josh Hall, Zach Loveday and Deivon Smith. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville basketball: Recruiting heats up in crucial September period," 12 Sep. 2019 Elizabeth May The leader of the Green Party, which now holds two seats in parliament after MP Paul Manly won in a by-election earlier this year in British Columbia, has seen its prospects rise as the urgency of addressing climate change grows. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "Canada’s election season has begun. It’ll last just 40 days.," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Klopp has already backed the youth prospects Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster to step up and provide more squad depth rather than relying on huge spending., "Jurgen Klopp Explains Liverpool's Lack of High Profile Signings and Discusses Community Shield Loss," 7 Aug. 2019 Tigers prospects Matt Manning, Issac Paredes and Jake Rogers are on the American League squad. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers swept by champs, Detroit Pistons hoping to remember Vegas: Weekend Review," 6 July 2019 Former Brewers prospects Monte Harrison and Isan Diaz, traded to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich exchange, are also part of the National League roster. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin baseball will be all over the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, with Jarred Kelenic, Gavin Lux and Daulton Varsho all taking part," 5 July 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

Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for prospect

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

See more words from the same century

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!