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

Synonyms: Verb

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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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If Neil was proud, the state was delirious at the prospect of a native son in the finals of one of the biggest reality TV franchises of 2009. Dwain Hebda, Arkansas Online, "Kristopher Neil Allen," 18 Oct. 2020 Republicans are salivating at the prospect of a similar episode this time, hoping to use any other inappropriate questions by Democratic senators as an election-year cudgel to boost their flagging political fortunes. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Amy Coney Barrett Hearings Are a Gut Check for Democrats," 12 Oct. 2020 Once jovial and confident, Floyd left prison deflated, introspective and terrified at the prospect of being locked up again, according to family members and friends. Washington Post, "How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition," 8 Oct. 2020 Kaepernick expressed optimism at the prospect of dismantling policing and prisons as currently built, while making way for investments in other vehicles for the well-being of people in need. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Colin Kaepernick calls to abolish police and prisons in new essay," 8 Oct. 2020 That has left many moderates anxious at the prospect of returning home to their constituents empty-handed. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "In Scuttling Stimulus Talks, Trump Invites Political Risk for Himself and Republicans," 8 Oct. 2020 The head-snapping social media proclamations added to confusion about the prospect of further stimulus this year. Laura He And Jill Disis, CNN, "Global markets struggle to make sense of Trump's stimulus tweet storm," 7 Oct. 2020 Not everyone is happy about the prospect of bars reopening soon in Texas. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Gov. Greg Abbott hints at reopening bars with 'cheers' tweet," 6 Oct. 2020 But Mr Biden’s ability to go with the flow means that, at the moment, both the left and the right are anxious about the prospect of Bidenomics. The Economist, "The pragmatist Joe Biden would not remake America’s economy," 3 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When catcher Austin Barnes’ offensives woes dragged past the All-Star break last season, the Dodgers gave his job to prospect Will Smith and watched the rookie complete his first 54 games in the majors with 42 RBIs and an eye-catching .907 OPS. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Led by homegrown youngsters, Braves have the Dodgers on the brink of elimination," 16 Oct. 2020 Dyer caught gold fever in 1881 and moved to Prescott to prospect, a job that didn’t pan out. Douglas C. Towne, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix had no photos of this camera-shy past city mayor — until now," 15 Oct. 2020 Dallas will also return the other five defensemen that played in the Cup Final, and prospect Thomas Harley could be ready to make the jump to the NHL. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Stars unsure of defenseman Stephen Johns’ future following postseason run," 8 Oct. 2020 Will prospect Matt Manning get a chance to contribute down the stretch? Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "MLB power rankings: On his way to superstardom, Tim Anderson leads young White Sox towards postseason," 7 Sep. 2020 Warships from the two NATO allies have been shadowing each other in recent weeks as Turkish survey vessels and drill ships continue to prospect for hydrocarbons in waters where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic rights. Star Tribune, "Turkey criticizes US decision to lift Cyprus arms embargo," 2 Sep. 2020 Hours before Svechnikov scored his goal last October, Nils Höglander, a 19-year-old Vancouver Canucks prospect currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League for Rögle BK, also scored a lacrosse goal, and maybe the best one yet. Sam Riches, Longreads, "The NHL’s Lacrosse Takeover," 10 Aug. 2020 Former Mets prospect Anthony Kay was tagged four six runs while recording two outs. Mike Haim, Star Tribune, "DeGrom, in NYPD hat, backed by 10-run 4th, Mets rout Jays," 11 Sep. 2020 Turkey recently deployed a seismic research vessel, escorted by warships, into waters between Crete and Cyprus to prospect for offshore gas and oil. Fox News, "France sends forces into eastern Mediterranean to quell tensions between Greece, Turkey," 14 Aug. 2020

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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Learn More about prospect

Time Traveler for prospect

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prospect

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prospect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for prospect


How to pronounce prospect (audio)

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


How to pronounce prospect (audio)

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

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