pro·​spec·​tus | \ prə-ˈspek-təs How to pronounce prospectus (audio) , prä- \
plural prospectuses

Definition of prospectus

1 : a preliminary printed statement that describes an enterprise (such as a business or publication) and that is distributed to prospective buyers, investors, or participants
2 : something (such as a statement or situation) that forecasts the course or nature of something

Prospectus Is a Word for the Forward-Thinking

Like prospect, prospectus looks forward. Thus, a prospectus originally outlined something that didn't yet exist, describing what it would become. This might even be a book; the great dictionary of Noah Webster, like that of Samuel Johnson, was first announced in the form of a prospectus, so that well-to-do people might actually subscribe to it—that is, pay for it in advance so that Webster would have money to live on while writing it. Soon, prospectus was being used to mean a description of a private school or college, intended to attract new students. Today the word very often means a description of a stock offering or mutual fund, whether new or not.

Examples of prospectus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chervon sales of power tools that run on lithium batteries increased to $827 million in from $347 million in 2020, according to its prospectus. Russell Flannery, Forbes, 30 Dec. 2021 Ross and some of his real estate partnerships were audited, according to a company prospectus, and in some cases, the IRS determined that the firm had been too aggressive in taking write-offs from the projects. Jeff Ernsthausen, ProPublica, 7 Dec. 2021 On July 16, the operator of the Paytm digital-finance app, One97 Communications Ltd., filed a prospectus for what would be India’s largest IPO in local-currency terms. Shefali Anand, WSJ, 21 July 2021 Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein is understood to have begun preparations for a possible $47 billion IPO and is expected to submit a prospectus for listing in the near future. Mark Faithfull, Forbes, 4 June 2021 Institutions and strategic investors may take up about 96% of the offering in Shanghai and 97.5% in Hong Kong, according to Ant’s prospectus, though the figures may change due to clawback and greenshoe provisions. John Cheng,, 29 Oct. 2020 Scaringe owns about three times as many options as shares, according to the company’s prospectus. Scott Carpenter, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2021 Based on pre-clinical data, other therapies being pursued could eventually have utility against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and MS, according to the company’s prospectus. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Oct. 2021 DiDi investors include Softbank New Vision Fund, which holds a 20% stake, Uber 12%, and Tencent 6%, according to the company’s prospectus. Russell Flannery, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prospectus.' 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 prospectus

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prospectus

Latin, prospect

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Time Traveler for prospectus

Time Traveler

The first known use of prospectus was in 1765

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Dictionary Entries Near prospectus

Prospect Park



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Statistics for prospectus

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prospectus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for prospectus



English Language Learners Definition of prospectus

: a printed statement that describes something (such as a new business or investment) and that is sent to people who may want to be involved in it or invest in it
: a book or document that provides information about a school, business, etc. : brochure


pro·​spec·​tus | \ prə-ˈspek-təs How to pronounce prospectus (audio) \
plural prospectuses\ -​tə-​səz \

Legal Definition of prospectus

: a preliminary printed statement describing a business or other enterprise and distributed to prospective buyers, investors, or participants specifically : a description of a new security issue supplied to prospective purchasers and providing a disclosure of detailed information concerning the company's business and financial standing

Note: Under the Securities Act of 1933, the prospectus is part of the registration statement that must be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission before a security may be offered or sold to the public. The Securities Act defines prospectus broadly as “any prospectus, notice, circular, advertisement, letter, or communication, written or by radio or television, which offers any security for sale or confirms the sale of any security.”

More from Merriam-Webster on prospectus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prospectus

Nglish: Translation of prospectus for Spanish Speakers


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