See more synonyms for prompt on
adjective, prompt·er, prompt·est.
  1. done, performed, delivered, etc., at once or without delay: a prompt reply.
  2. ready in action; quick to act as occasion demands.
  3. quick or alert: prompt to take offense.
  4. punctual.
verb (used with object)
  1. to move or induce to action: What prompted you to say that?
  2. to occasion or incite; inspire: What prompted his resignation?
  3. to assist (a person speaking) by suggesting something to be said.
  4. Theater. to supply (an actor, singer, etc.) from offstage with a missed cue or forgotten line.
verb (used without object)
  1. Theater. to supply forgotten lines, lyrics, or the like to an actor, singer, etc.
  1. 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.
  2. the act of prompting.
  3. something serving to suggest or remind.
  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.
  1. take a prompt, (in acting) to move or speak in response to a cue.

Origin of prompt

1300–50; (v.) Middle English < Medieval Latin prōmptāre to incite, Latin: to distribute, frequentative of prōmere to bring out, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + (e)mere to take, buy; (adj.) late Middle English < Latin promptus ready, prompt, special use of past participle of prōmere
Related formsprompt·ly, adverbprompt·ness, nouno·ver·prompt, adjectiveo·ver·prompt·ly, adverbo·ver·prompt·ness, nounqua·si-prompt, adjectivequa·si-prompt·ly, adverbun·prompt, adjectiveun·prompt·ly, adverbun·prompt·ness, nounun·prompt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for prompt

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prompt

Contemporary Examples of prompt

Historical Examples of prompt

  • "I'd say that I was lucky to have half of the half that's left," was Emma's prompt retort.

  • "It wasn't safe to bring them in the front way," was the Inspector's prompt reply.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But she was as tender as ever, unfailingly patient, prompt to come to him and slow to leave.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Now every man to his station; be prompt, and be silent, and attend to the word of command.

  • I could not prompt him to go on, but he presently did so himself, desolately enough.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

British Dictionary definitions for prompt


  1. performed or executed without delay
  2. quick or ready to act or respond
  1. informal punctually
  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 suggestionhis 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 called: prompt notea 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
Derived Formspromptly, adverbpromptness, noun

Word Origin for prompt

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

mid-14c., prompten, from Latin promptus, past participle of promere "to bring forth," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + emere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Theatrical sense of "to assist a speaker with lines" is first recorded early 15c. Related: Prompted; prompting.


early 15c., "readiness," from Latin promptus (see prompt (v.)). Meaning "hint, act of prompting" is from 1590s. Computer sense attested by 1977.


early 15c., from Old French prompt and directly from Latin promptus "brought forth," hence "visible, apparent, evident," past participle of promere "to take or bring out or forth" (see prompt (v.)).Related: Promptly; promptitude.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper