a person or thing that prompts.
Theater. a person who is offstage and follows a play in progress from the book, repeating missed cues and supplying actors with forgotten lines.
an electronic or mechanical device for prompting a speaker or performer.

Compare TelePrompTer.

Origin of prompter

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at prompt, -er1
Related formsun·der·prompt·er, noun



adjective, prompt·er, prompt·est.

done, performed, delivered, etc., at once or without delay: a prompt reply.
ready in action; quick to act as occasion demands.
quick or alert: prompt to take offense.

verb (used with object)

to move or induce to action: What prompted you to say that?
to occasion or incite; inspire: What prompted his resignation?
to assist (a person speaking) by suggesting something to be said.
Theater. to supply (an actor, singer, etc.) from offstage with a missed cue or forgotten line.

verb (used without object)

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


  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.
the act of prompting.
something serving to suggest or remind.
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.


    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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prompter

Contemporary Examples of prompter

  • When you were standing there and realized the wrong speech was in the prompter, what was going through your mind?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bring Back Fighting Obama

    Paul Begala

    September 3, 2009

  • On that note, Michael, reading the prompter again in March said, “I will sing all the songs my fans want to hear.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Michael Jackson I Knew

    Pat O'Brien

    March 5, 2009

Historical Examples of prompter

British Dictionary definitions for prompter



a person offstage who reminds the actors of forgotten lines or cues
a person, thing, etc, that prompts



performed or executed without delay
quick or ready to act or respond


informal punctually


(tr) to urge (someone to do something)
to remind (an actor, singer, etc) of lines forgotten during a performance
(tr) to refresh the memory of
(tr) to give rise to by suggestionhis affairs will prompt discussion


  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
the act of prompting
anything that serves to remind
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 prompter

1540s, agent noun from prompt (v.)). Earlier was promptator (mid-15c.).



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