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pros·​pect ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio)
: an extensive view
: a mental consideration : survey
: a place that commands an extensive view : lookout
: something extended to the view : scene
archaic : a sketch or picture of a scene
obsolete : aspect
: the act of looking forward : anticipation
: a mental picture of something to come : vision
: something that is awaited or expected : possibility
d prospects plural
: financial expectations
: a place showing signs of containing a mineral deposit
: a potential buyer or customer
: a likely candidate for a job or position


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pros·​pect ˈprä-ˌspekt How to pronounce prospect (audio)
 chiefly British  prə-ˈspekt
prospected; prospecting; prospects

intransitive verb

: to explore an area especially for mineral deposits

transitive verb

: to inspect (a region) for mineral deposits
broadly : explore
ˈprä-ˌspek-tər How to pronounce prospect (audio)
in prospect
: possible or likely for the future

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.

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The prospect of the first female Black president could inject the sort of energy needed to turn out the vote in what is likely to be a mobilization rather than a persuasion election (i.e., most everyone has already made up their mind). Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, 7 July 2024 Two other top prospects, right-handers River Ryan and Kyle Hurt, are also currently in triple A (though Hurt recently left a start with a trainer). Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2024
Up-and-coming: Royals prospects Gavin Cross, Ben Kudrna named to 2024 All-Star Futures Game Best in June: Vinnie Pasquantino, Seth Lugo honored with monthly team award Here are more notables from Tuesday’s game: Rain delay at The K Both teams headed into the clubhouse early on Tuesday. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 3 July 2024 Barring a signing, that spot might be reserved for Panthers prospect Mackie Samoskevich. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for prospect 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prospect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Latin prospectus view, prospect, from prospicere to look forward, exercise foresight, from pro- forward + specere to look — more at pro-, spy

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1834, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near prospect

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
pros·​pect ˈpräs-ˌpekt How to pronounce prospect (audio)
: a wide view
: looking forward to something : anticipation
the prospect of a good time
: something that is waited for or expected : possibility
what is the prospect of our seeing you again soon?
: a possible buyer or customer
: a likely candidate
a presidential prospect


2 of 2 verb
: to explore especially for mineral deposits
prospecting for gold

More from Merriam-Webster on prospect

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