pro·​spec·​tive | \ prə-ˈspek-tiv also ˈprä-ˌspek- How to pronounce prospective (audio) , prō-ˈspek-, prä-ˈspek- \

Definition of prospective

1 : relating to or effective in the future
2a : likely to come about : expected the prospective benefits of this law
b : likely to be or become a prospective mother

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Other Words from prospective

prospectively adverb

Examples of prospective in a Sentence

In 2005 [Jerry] Colangelo arranged face-to-face sit-downs with every prospective national team player, to hear in their own words why they wanted to represent their country. — Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated, 28 July 2008 All too often in the post-Vietnam past—the first Gulf War, for example—the default position of the Democratic Party has been to assume that any prospective use of U.S. military power would be immoral. — Joe Klein, Time, 21 Aug. 2006 All of these arguments were prospective, all anticipated the role that public opinion would play in future constitutional disputes. — Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings … , 1996
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Recent Examples on the Web Winning, especially championships, can entice prospective students, donors and sponsors. New York Times, "Dabo Swinney Has a Vision to Sell You," 10 Jan. 2020 Thanks to data collection, Western knows when prospective students don't chose to attend, 21% end up at Michigan State University, 8% end up at Grand Valley and 4% end up at Central Michigan University. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "2 Michigan universities facing enrollment challenges know they have to make big changes," 27 Dec. 2019 High school and adult education staff will be on hand during the tour to answer all enrollment related questions, walk prospective adult students through the financial aid process and help students get registered. Rich Heileman, cleveland, "A second chance to tour ‘new’ Polaris: Around The Town," 27 Dec. 2019 Last year, the Justice Department began investigating whether colleges and universities were violating antitrust laws by exchanging information about prospective students who make early-decision commitments., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 22 Dec. 2019 Undue influence is the act of encouraging or inducing a prospective student to attend a school for athletic purposes. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Man who brought teen from Congo to Southport High School arrested," 11 Dec. 2019 In one television ad, actress Phylicia Rashad narrates as a prospective student navigates through a crowded campus parking lot. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "University of Phoenix owner fined $191 million for deceptive ads," 10 Dec. 2019 There is no application fee to apply to QVCC and prospective students are encouraged to apply online., "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 9 Dec. 2019 Vandemoer accepted $770,000 on behalf of the Stanford sailing program and agreed to recommend two prospective students — neither of whom was admitted. Nanette Asimov,, "Stanford review: 7 coaches were offered bribes by consultant in admissions scandal," 3 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prospective.' 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 prospective

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prospective

see prospect entry 1

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Time Traveler for prospective

Time Traveler

The first known use of prospective was in 1788

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Statistics for prospective

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prospective.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for prospective


How to pronounce prospective (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prospective

: likely to be or become something specified in the future
formal : likely to happen


pro·​spec·​tive | \ prə-ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce prospective (audio) , ˈprä-ˌspek- \

Kids Definition of prospective

1 : likely to become a prospective buyer
2 : likely to come about prospective benefits


pro·​spec·​tive | \ prə-ˈspek-tiv How to pronounce prospective (audio) \

Medical Definition of prospective

: relating to or being a study (as of the incidence of disease) that starts with the present condition of a population of individuals and follows them into the future — compare retrospective

Other Words from prospective

prospectively \ -​lē How to pronounce prospectively (audio) \ adverb

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pro·​spec·​tive | \ prə-ˈspek-tiv, ˈprä-ˌspek- How to pronounce prospective (audio) \

Legal Definition of prospective

1 : relating to or effective in the future a statute's prospective effect
2 : likely to come about : expected to happen prospective inability to perform the contract
3 : likely to be or become a prospective buyer

Other Words from prospective

prospectively adverb

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Comments on prospective

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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