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verb (used without object)
  1. to be successful or fortunate, especially in financial respects; thrive; flourish.
verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to make successful or fortunate.

Origin of prosper

1425–75; late Middle English prosperen < Latin prosperāre to make happy, derivative of prosperus prosperous
Related formsun·pros·pered, adjectiveun·pros·per·ing, adjective


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1. See succeed.


1. fail.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prosper

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Prosper had stopped to let the donkey drink from the stream.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • Prosper looked about him, taxing his recollection fruitlessly.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • Prosper's answer was ready to slip from his tongue; he hesitated.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • Prosper, as far as he was concerned, was suffering from want of sleep.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • And, as well as the shawl, I shall have something to send to Prosper's old friend.

    Grandmother Dear

    Mrs. Molesworth

British Dictionary definitions for prosper


  1. (usually intr) to thrive, succeed, etc, or cause to thrive, succeed, etc in a healthy way

Word Origin

C15: from Latin prosperāre to succeed, from prosperus fortunate, from pro- 1 + spēs hope
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for prosper


mid-14c., from Old French prosperer (14c.) and directly from Latin prosperare "cause to succeed, render happy," from prosperus "favorable, fortunate, prosperous," perhaps literally "agreeable to one's wishes," from Old Latin pro spere "according to expectation," from pro "for" + ablative of spes "hope," from PIE root *spe- "to flourish, succeed, thrive, prosper" (see speed (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper