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[pros-pekt] /ˈprɒs pɛkt/
Usually, prospects.
  1. an apparent probability of advancement, success, profit, etc.
  2. the outlook for the future:
    good business prospects.
anticipation; expectation; a looking forward.
something in view as a source of profit.
a potential or likely customer, client, etc.
a potential or likely candidate.
a view, especially of scenery; scene.
outlook or view over a region or in a particular direction.
a mental view or survey, as of a subject or situation.
  1. an apparent indication of ore or native metal.
  2. a place giving such indications.
  3. a mine working or excavation undertaken in a search for additional ore.
Archaic. sight; range of vision.
verb (used with object)
to search or explore (a region), as for gold.
to work (a mine or claim) experimentally in order to test its value.
verb (used without object)
to search or explore a region for gold or the like.
in prospect, under consideration; expected; in view:
He had no other alternative in prospect.
Origin of prospect
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English prospecte < Latin prōspectus outlook, view. See prospectus
Related forms
prospectless, adjective
[pros-pek-ter, pruh-spek-ter] /ˈprɒs pɛk tər, prəˈspɛk tər/ (Show IPA),
nonprospect, noun
underprospect, noun
6, 7. See view. 7, 8. perspective. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prospect
  • One overlooked benefit of aging populations may be the prospect of a more peaceful world.
  • Paleontologists were not optimistic about the prospect of finding dinosaurs with feathers.
  • The prospect of such contagion-by-calendar had shadowed every summer for the better part of a century.
  • With no traffic cops on the moon, the only deterrent against damaging sites might be the prospect of negative publicity.
  • If it were not for having to eat, this prospect would not have daunted him greatly.
  • For a number of reasons, this project demands my attention, and with it the humbling prospect of learning a new software.
  • Others scoff at the prospect of becoming a corporate lawyer, or doctor.
  • Stem cells raise the prospect of regenerating failing body parts and curing diseases that have so far defied drug-based treatment.
  • The prospect of a delusional hallucinating mate is not a pleasant one.
  • So, the prospect of runaway global warming are completely unrealistic.
British Dictionary definitions for prospect


noun (ˈprɒspɛkt)
(sometimes pl) a probability or chance for future success, esp as based on present work or aptitude: a good job with prospects
a vision of the future; what is foreseen; expectation: she was excited at the prospect of living in London, unemployment presents a grim prospect
a view or scene, esp one offering an extended outlook
a prospective buyer, project, etc
a survey or observation
  1. a known or likely deposit of ore
  2. the location of a deposit of ore
  3. a sample of ore for testing
  4. the yield of mineral obtained from a sample of ore
verb (prəˈspɛkt)
when intr, often foll by for. to explore (a region) for gold or other valuable minerals
(transitive) to work (a mine) to discover its profitability
(intransitive) often foll by for. to search (for)
Derived Forms
prospectless, adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for prospect

early 15c., "act of looking into the distance," from Latin prospectus "distant view, look out; sight, faculty of sight," noun use of past participle of prospicere "look out on, look forward," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "extensive view of the landscape" is from 1530s; transferred sense of "mental view or survey" is from 1620s. Sense of "person or thing considered promising" is from 1922. Prospects "expectations, things looked forward to" is from 1660s.


"explore for gold, examine land with a view to a mining claim," 1841, from prospect (n.) in specialized sense of "spot giving prospects of ore" (1832). Earlier in a sense "look forth, look out over" (1550s), from Latin prospectare. Related: Prospected; prospecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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