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

command, lookout, outlook, panorama, perspective, view, vista

Synonyms: Verb

explore, hunt, probe, search, skirr

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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


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.


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

During the next 15 years, he was known for reaching far and wide to educate the game’s prospects. Rusty Simmons,, "John Ralston, longtime football coach with deep Bay Area ties, dies at 92," 15 Sep. 2019 The only other offers Okonkwo, a three-star prospect from Powder Springs, Georgia, had received two years ago were from Navy, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin, schools that perennially are among the nation’s leaders in rushing. Don Markus,, "After years of neglect, No. 21 Maryland back to using tight ends to help its offense score," 14 Sep. 2019 Take left tackle Sam Cosmi, a three-star prospect out of Humble Atascocita who came in as the No. Nick Moyle,, "Texas’ Tom Herman and Yancy McKnight back in familiar territory at Rice," 13 Sep. 2019 Even so, both the Rivals and 247Sports recruiting services rate him just a three-star prospect. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDSU basketball gets commitment from high-scoring guard," 10 Sep. 2019 The 6-foot-2, 266-pound 'backer, out of Orem, Utah, is the younger brother of Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell and is rated as five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker. Andrew Nemec | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Noah Sewell, Keith Brown, 2 elite linebackers, arrive in Eugene for Oregon Ducks visit," 7 Sep. 2019 Love outshined Northern Colorado’s NFL quarterback prospect Jacob Knipp, who went 26 of 44 for 177 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Victor Aquino, The Mercury News, "Takeaways: Love shines in San Jose State’s season-opening win," 30 Aug. 2019 In a still-crowded Democratic field, not qualifying for the debate was expected to severely cripple a candidate’s prospects. Brian Slodysko,, "10 of the 20 remaining Democratic presidential candidates made the cut for the next debate," 29 Aug. 2019 In a still-crowded Democratic field, not qualifying for the debate was expected to severely cripple a candidate’s prospects. Brian Slodysko, The Denver Post, "10 Democrats set for next debate as Michael Bennet, several others miss cut," 29 Aug. 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.

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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

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prospect

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

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More Definitions for prospect



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



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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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