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

The lawmakers’ appeal comes as the conflict drags on in its fifth year, with the civilian death toll rising and feuding among factions allied with key U.S. partners complicating prospects for peace. Washington Post, "Lawmakers make new push to end Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen," 3 Sep. 2019 Not wanting to be outdone, the Astros made the biggest move of the MLB trade season by dealing a package of prospects for another ace in Zack Greinke. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "What to know about new Texans Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Carlos Hyde," 3 Sep. 2019 The 6-foot, 205-pound Miami native had 54 total tackles and four interceptions last season, is considered one of the best athletes in the country and is a prospect for next year's NFL Draft. Fletcher Page,, "UC football's James Wiggins will not play in season-opener against UCLA," 29 Aug. 2019 These issues have varying prospects for being solved. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "16-bit RISC-V processor made with carbon nanotubes," 28 Aug. 2019 The news anchors and radio personalities seem positively giddy about the prospect of broadcasting for 12 days with a live audience. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: Step right up, for your ‘potentially gut-churning pickled, spiced, sauced, cheese-covered, and deep-fried whatever’!," 25 Aug. 2019 The North's blistering rhetoric may dim the prospect for an early resumption of nuclear negotiations between the countries. Fox News, "North Korea calls Mike Pompeo 'poisonous plant of American diplomacy'," 23 Aug. 2019 But even after more deaths in Dayton and El Paso, the prospects for even passing a universal background check — the most popular proposal among these women — isn’t looking good. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Suburban women want Congress to act on gun control, Republican poll finds," 20 Aug. 2019 The economists surveyed by the NABE were skeptical about prospects for success of the latest round of U.S.-China trade negotiations. CBS News, "34% of economists expect a recession in 2021," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz made his debut for triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. Los Angeles Times, "Walker Buehler shuts down Marlins to complete sweep for Dodgers," 21 July 2019 The first, Luna 25, could land near the moon’s south pole in 2021 to prospect for minerals, water and other resources that cosmonauts would need for a moon base. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, "The Global Race to Return to the Moon," 20 May 2019 Orioles prospects DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez were impressive Sunday night in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland, in more ways than one. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Orioles prospects DL Hall, Grayson Rodriguez pitch scoreless innings in All-Star Futures Game," 7 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

9 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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