pros·​per·​ous ˈprä-sp(ə-)rəs How to pronounce prosperous (audio)
: marked by success or economic well-being
: enjoying vigorous and healthy growth : flourishing
prosperously adverb
prosperousness noun

Examples of prosperous in a Sentence

The company had a prosperous year. He predicted a prosperous future.
Recent Examples on the Web Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, was born in 1803 to a prosperous family in New York City. Gerard Helferich, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 More important, Israel cannot remain a secure, prosperous, democratic, and Jewish state unless there is, before too long, a Palestinian state alongside it. Richard Haass, Foreign Affairs, 15 Oct. 2023 This initial amity was very short-lived: The prosperous and generous Native American tribes of Southern California were conquered by Spanish settlers, then enslaved by imperious theologians to launch a mission-building campaign that stretched from San Diego to San Francisco. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2023 Money that could be used to establish a prosperous economy is instead diverted to purchasing weapons and missile components, fired from civilian homes, hospitals, and schools to maximize casualties if the Israelis return fire. Douglas J. Feith, National Review, 24 Oct. 2023 The North Tulsa community was a prosperous Black district. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Oct. 2023 The strikes have shown there is another malignancy in the system that threatens the long-term health of what has been an extremely prosperous business. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 11 Oct. 2023 Although Neka lived a long and prosperous life, this is a major loss among conservationists, as African lion populations continue to dwindle. Lizzy Rosenberg, Peoplemag, 2 Oct. 2023 Founded in 1951, Kfar Aza was a prosperous kibbutz with two businesses on the site, one that made a dye for plastics, another that provided lighting and sound systems for events. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prosperous.' 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 prosperus "agreeable to one's wishes, successful, (of omens) propitious" (going back to *pro-sparo-, from pro- pro- entry 2 + *sparo-, going back to Indo-European *sph1-ró- "thriving") + -ous -ous — more at speed entry 1

Note: An apparently traditional explanation is recorded by the fourth/fifth century grammarian Nonius Marcellus, namely, that prosperus was in origin from the phrase prō spērē "in conformity with one's hope" (spērē being taken as a variant of spē, ablative of spēs "hope"), though this may best be regarded as a folk etymology. It fails to account for the short e in prosperus.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near prosperous

Cite this Entry

“Prosperous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


pros·​per·​ous ˈpräs-p(ə-)rəs How to pronounce prosperous (audio)
: having or showing success or financial good fortune
: strong and healthy in growth
prosperously adverb

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