[ pros-pekt ]
/ ˈprɒs pɛkt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: prospect / prospected / prospecting / prospects on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to search or explore a region for gold or the like.
to make a search; look for something: As a freelancer, you will be prospecting for clients.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Idioms about prospect

    in prospect, under consideration; expected; in view: He had no other alternative in prospect.

Origin of prospect

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English prospecte, from Latin prōspectus “outlook, view”; see prospectus

synonym study for prospect

6, 7. See view.


pros·pect·less, adjectivepros·pec·tor [pros-pek-ter, pruh-spek-ter], /ˈprɒs pɛk tər, prəˈspɛk tər/, nounnon·pros·pect, nounun·der·pros·pect, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does prospect mean?

A prospect is a specific outlook for one’s future, usually leaning toward a positive outcome. It is often used in the plural, as in If Julie doesn’t improve her grades, her prospects for college will be slim.

More generally, prospect is a looking forward or anticipation, as in With all this extra work, the prospect of going home early isn’t looking good.

In business, prospect has several specific meanings. A prospect could be a source of profit, such as a new product.

Prospect could also be a potential client or customer, as in The sales team is always looking for prospects to sell to.

Or a prospect could be a potential employee, as in HR sent us several prospects for our job opening.

To prospect means to search, often for something that will provide a positive outcome, like a job or a client.

More specifically, prospect is used to mean to explore an area for gold or similar, as in The gold rush of 1849 led to a lot of prospecting in California.

Example: I gave up all of my prospects in banking to chase my passion for photography.

Where does prospect come from?

The first records of the term prospect come from the 1400s. It comes from the Latin prōspectus, meaning “outlook” or “view.”

If you have something you’re planning for  or expecting, you might say that it’s in prospect, as in The building designs are in prospect right now. You can also use this phrase when you’re making a major change in your life, like looking for a new job. You would say your plans are in prospect.

If you’re in prospect of becoming a word nerd, we’d say that if you keep reading our articles, your prospects are very good!

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to prospect?

What are some synonyms for prospect?

What are some words that share a root or word element with prospect

What are some words that often get used in discussing prospect?

How is prospect used in real life?

Prospect is often used in relatively formal situations, especially regarding money or property, but can also be used in casual conversations.


Try using prospect!

Is prospect used correctly in the following sentence?

With three strong job offers to consider, Juan had no prospects for his future.

How to use prospect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prospect


noun (ˈprɒspɛkt)
verb (prəˈspɛkt)

Derived forms of prospect

prospectless, adjective

Word Origin for prospect

C15: from Latin prōspectus distant view, from prōspicere to look into the distance, from prō- forward + specere to look
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