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From Middle French prospectif, from Late Latin prospectivus



prospective (not comparable)

  1. Likely or expected to happen or become.
    Prospective students are those who have already applied to the university, but have yet to be admitted.
  2. Anticipated in the near or far future.
  3. Of or relating to a prospect; furnishing a prospect.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Time's long and dark prospective glass.
  4. Looking forward in time; acting with foresight.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir J. Child
      The French king and king of Sweden are circumspect, industrious, and prospective, too, in this affair.
  5. (medicine, of research) A study that starts with the present situation and follows participants into the future
  6. (grammar) Indicating grammatically an activity about to begin.
    What some other languages convey with prospective aspect, English conveys with expressions like going to drive the car home.



prospective (plural prospectives)

  1. (obsolete) The scene before or around, in time or in space; view; prospect.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir H. Wotton to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete) A perspective glass.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Beaumont and Fletcher to this entry?)
  3. (informal, often plural) A prospective (potential) member, student, employee, date, partner, etc.
    Would you like to show the prospective around?
    I'm meeting the prospectives at 3.
    • 2006, Verve: The Spirit of Today's Woman, volume 14, issues 4-6, page 114:
      At the moment, meeting interesting, 'could be, maybe not' prospectives around the globe keeps her entertained.

See also[edit]





  1. feminine singular of prospectif