View synonyms for prompt


[ prompt ]


, prompt·er, prompt·est.
  1. done, performed, delivered, etc., at once or without delay:

    I emailed them asking about my package and they gave a prompt reply.

  2. ready in action; quick to act as occasion demands:

    They were trained to be prompt and competent for any emergency.

  3. quick or alert:

    You're too prompt to take offense.

  4. She's never prompt in arriving for work, yet she's always the first to leave at the end of the day.

verb (used with object)

  1. to move or induce to action:

    What prompted you to say that?

    Synonyms: impel, instigate, spur, urge

  2. to occasion or incite; inspire:

    What prompted his resignation?

  3. to assist (a person speaking) by suggesting something to be said:

    It's obvious that this witness has been prompted into giving false testimony.

  4. Theater. to supply (an actor, singer, etc.) from offstage with a missed cue or forgotten line:

    I focused on prompting our Cyrano, who had become strangely disoriented.

  5. Computers. (of a computer system) to send a message or symbol to (a user) requesting information or instructions, usually by displaying the message or symbol on a screen:

    Once the home page has loaded, the computer will prompt you to log in to your account.

  6. Computers, Digital Technology. to request particular output from (a machine learning algorithm) by means of instructions, questions, examples, context, or other input.

verb (used without object)

  1. Theater. to supply forgotten lines, lyrics, or the like to an actor, singer, etc.:

    I've got a one-line walk-on in the first scene, but for the rest of the play, I'll be prompting.


  1. the act of prompting.
  2. something serving to suggest or remind:

    They send an email once a month, which is just the prompt I need to pay my bill on time.

  3. Commerce.
    1. a limit of time given for payment for merchandise purchased, the limit being stated on a note of reminder prompt note.
    2. the contract setting the time limit.
  4. Computers. a message or symbol from a computer system to a user, generally appearing on a display screen, requesting more information or indicating that the system is ready for user instructions:

    When the prompt appears, provide your access code.

  5. Computers, Digital Technology. a sequence of inputs, often containing instructions, questions, examples, or context, used to request particular output from a machine learning algorithm.


/ prɒmpt /


  1. performed or executed without delay
  2. quick or ready to act or respond


  1. informal.


  1. tr to urge (someone to do something)
  2. to remind (an actor, singer, etc) of lines forgotten during a performance
  3. tr to refresh the memory of
  4. tr to give rise to by suggestion

    his affairs will prompt discussion


  1. commerce
    1. the time limit allowed for payment of the debt incurred by purchasing goods or services on credit
    2. the contract specifying this time limit
    3. Also calledprompt note a memorandum sent to a purchaser to remind him of the time limit and the sum due
  2. the act of prompting
  3. anything that serves to remind
  4. an aid to the operator of a computer in the form of a question or statement that appears on the screen showing that the equipment is ready to proceed and indicating the options available

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Derived Forms

  • ˈpromptness, noun
  • ˈpromptly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • prompt·ly adverb
  • prompt·ness noun
  • o·ver·prompt adjective
  • qua·si-prompt adjective
  • un·prompt adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of prompt1

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English prompte “ready, eager” (adjective), prompten (verb), both ultimately from Latin promptus “manifest, at hand, ready, quick, prepared,” adjective use of past participle of prōmere “to bring forth, deliver, set forth,” from prō- pro- 1 + (e)mere “to buy, obtain, take”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of prompt1

C15: from Latin promptus evident, from prōmere to produce, from pro- 1+ emere to buy

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. take a prompt, (in acting) to move or speak in response to a cue.

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Example Sentences

That prompted grumbling from industry competitors, but Trek’s claims went largely unexamined, and the controversy faded.

This has prompted some to suggest we should instead create a distributed network of smaller quantum computers that can work together to simulate a larger one.

They are often used as a call-to-action as they might prompt a viewer to read or learn more about a topic by clicking on the internal link, or else ask a viewer to contact you or schedule a visit.

That belief prompted two teachers unions to call for her removal from the House Education Committee — one of her new committee assignments.

Several clusters of cases related to a new viral variant have emerged in his area, prompting schools to delay their start dates.

From Time

God has to continually prompt and prod him, and puts his brother Aaron at his side to do most of the real leadership.

Fears that the plot was in the final stages helped prompt U.S. airstrikes against al Qaeda positions in Syria.

For most people, just saying the name Manson is enough to prompt discomfort.

These poll numbers again prompt the question: How could Al Gore lose in 2000?!

Mamoon and his second wife, Liana, hope it will revive his reputation, and “prompt the reissuing of his books in forty languages.”

Whatever can be done to bring about the prompt and effective use of this new system of bank settlement will be done.

It is a notable fact that under the wholly unusual circumstances prevailing, the recovery was so prompt and effective.

Perhaps their course is wiser than that which hot impatience would prompt—nay, I believe it is.

A little practice makes the pupil prompt in dealing with any figures whatever.

They have now (I suppose) reaped the harvest thereof, except that of the trees they planted, which are not so prompt in bearing.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.