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

As a field intern, my responsibilities included working in the community, trying to gauge interest from prospective voters and get a sense of what issues mattered to them most. Bushra Amiwala As Told To Joey Bartolomeo, Seventeen, "I'm A College Sophmore and I'm Running For Office," 16 Mar. 2018 The owner of the island will need a speedboat or helicopter to reach it, but prospective buyers don't seem to mind High Island's remote nature. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "There's a Private Island in Ireland on the Market For $1.4 Million," 22 Feb. 2019 Otherwise, the trade market remains bottled up with more prospective buyers than sellers. John Wawrow, The Seattle Times, "Players brace for moves as NHL trade deadline approaches," 20 Feb. 2019 The developer has said there is interest from prospective office tenants, but those tenants want to see some retail and residents first, as has happened at the City Place development near U.S. 169 and College Boulevard. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "OP Council reverses earlier vote, allows Brookridge rezoning despite protest," 19 June 2018 Orlando’s Pendana at West Lakes mixed-income apartments have debuted with 8,000 prospective tenants inquiring about 201 units, some of which rent for less than half of the going market rate. Mary Shanklin,, "8,000 inquire about 201 apartments as Central Florida officials seek affordable housing options," 14 Apr. 2018 Guests can learn about the rental process, credit checks and how to seek prospective tenants. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Around Town: Dory Deli beach cleanup hauls away 200 pounds of trash," 16 Mar. 2018 Current and prospective students must fill it out annually to get loans, grants and other forms of federal student aid. Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Seattle Times, "Financial aid season kicks off with 1st day for applications," 1 Oct. 2018 Donham, then 21 years old and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defense witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam. Jay Reeves,, "Government probing ‘new information’ in Emmett Till slaying," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for prospective

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prospective

The first known use of prospective was in 1788

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More Definitions for prospective



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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More from Merriam-Webster on prospective

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prospective

Spanish Central: Translation of prospective

Nglish: Translation of prospective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prospective for Arabic Speakers

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).


likely to have or produce good results

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