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

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 To recap, the marque’s prospective fleet includes a coupe, a sedan, a saloon, an off-roader and a pickup. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 10 Jan. 2022 For questioning on personal matters, the judge conducted the discussion privately with the lawyers and the prospective juror. Marta Dhanis, Fox News, 7 Jan. 2022 Airbnb hosts in Oregon will soon only see the initials of some prospective renters, not their full names, in a change designed to prevent discrimination against Black users of the online lodging marketplace. David Koenig, ajc, 6 Jan. 2022 Indiana court records are public, which means that prospective property managers can see whether a potential tenant has any prior evictions or eviction filings against them. Ko Lyn Cheang, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Jan. 2022 Many prospective recipients are older and take other medications, such as hypertension drugs and anticoagulants, and these patients may have to change or suspend those treatments to take Paxlovid. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 The series has long been a smash hit for MTV and will return to its roots of exposing those who use fake identities to scam prospective partners on their online dating profiles. oregonlive, 5 Jan. 2022 The National Association of Homebuilders found nearly half of all recent and prospective home buyers — 47% — rate an exercise room essential or desirable, according to NAHB’s latest survey on consumer preferences, What Home Buyers Really Want. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 5 Jan. 2022 For example, prospective volunteers might be concerned that they are given a placebo or that Novavax’s candidate could be less protective or even if their involvement in the trial could impact their ability to take another vaccine. Trefis Team, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near prospective



prospective glass

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Statistics for prospective

Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prospective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for prospective



English Language Learners Definition of prospective

: likely to be or become something specified in the future
: 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 prospective (audio) \ adverb


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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