The Meaning of Prompt: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of prompt? This guide will provide you with all of the knowledge you need on the word prompt, including its definition, etymology, usage, synonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word prompt mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word prompt can be used as a noun, adjective or verb. As a verb, the word prompt can be used to mean to make someone do something, cause, move, or inspire, or to help someone continue, remind, or assist. As an adjective, prompt means timely and without delay. As a noun, a prompt is a message that inspires or assigns writing, or a limit of time or note of reminder about a debt or payment. The suffixes ly, er and est can be added to the end of prompt to form promptly (adv.), prompter and promptest (adj.) and different verb forms include the singular simple present prompts, past participle prompted and present participle prompting.

Many things can be prompt or can involve a prompt. Someone in computer science or the operator of a computer system might see a prompt on their computer screen, monitor, or display screen signaling the net word to type, need a prompt reply, a prompt note, need the act of prompting for a missed cue, a purchaser might be prompted for payment of the debt or sum due on merchandise, user instructions might prompt someone to build something a certain way, a letter might prompt an immediate reply, a singer or reciter might be prompted to begin by lyrics on a display screen, an alert might prompt someone to input payment of an account, a criminal investigation might prompt an angry response from relatives, a director might prompt an actor with the next words of a forgotten passage, the incentive of an interest rate going up might prompt someone to pay their debt on schedule, a new job might prompt someone to get a haircut and clean up their look, and more. The word prompt is often used to refer to an inciting cause.

Words meaning prompt are also used in many other languages. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates which are often formed when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of prompt is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Russian: бы́стрый‎, прово́рный‎ (nimble, agile)
  •  Romanian: rapid‎, prompt‎
  •  Spanish: rápido‎
  •  Greek: γρήγορα‎
  •  Maori: takaniti‎
  •  Albanian: atypëratyshëm‎
  •  Portuguese: rápido‎, imediato‎
  •  Finnish: nopea‎, ripeä‎, sutjakka‎
  •  Yiddish: באַלדיק‎
  •  Polish: prędkie‎ (neut.)
  •  Norwegian: prompt‎, prompte‎
  •  Irish: éasca‎
  •  Indonesian: cepat‎
  •  Catalan: ràpid‎

What is the word origin of prompt?

According to Etymonline, the word prompt has been used since the 15th century Late Middle English prompte, from the Middle French and Old French pront and Latin promptus/Latin prōmptus, the past participle of promere/special use of past participle of prōmere. This comes from the Medieval Latin prōmptāre and Indo-European roots emere.

How can the word prompt be used in a sentence?

The word prompt can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions and incorporate them into your vocabulary. You could also try making a quiz or flashcards to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it might become a new favorite word. Below are several examples of prompt being used in English language sentences to help get you started.

The accusation prompted straightaway denial of the claims. The Princeton University student was not going to let his reputation go down without a fight.

The first question the reporter asked prompted offense from the theater-goer. 

The manager’s resignation prompted inspiration from the rest of the staff: they were going to improve their toxic work environment.

The occasion demands prompt action to take care of your affairs before the contract expires. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word prompt?

There are many different equivalent words that a person can use in place of the word prompt. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym because they want to avoid repeating themselves, or because they would like to work  on expanding their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word prompt is provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  kindle
  •  impel
  •  push
  •  cause
  •  prompting
  •  give rise to
  •  exhort
  •  stir
  •  expeditious
  •  suggest
  •  ready
  •  remind
  •  punctual
  •  early
  •  prod
  •  direct
  •  incite
  •  influence
  •  sway
  •  quickly
  •  encourage
  •  animate
  •  cue
  •  immediate
  •  force
  •  evoke
  •  nudge
  •  signal
  •  fast
  •  rapid
  •  provoke
  •  pressure
  •  instantaneous
  •  speedy
  •  trigger
  •  urge
  •  persuade
  •  press
  •  foster
  •  stir up
  •  instant
  •  make
  •  quick
  •  fire
  •  create
  •  move
  •  reminder
  •  initiate
  •  hint
  •  generate
  •  drive
  •  egg on
  •  engender
  •  spawn
  •  dispose
  •  goad
  •  sharp
  •  promptly
  •  actuate
  •  incline
  •  inflame
  •  instigate
  •  brisk
  •  predispose
  •  rouse
  •  elicit
  •  promote
  •  caution
  •  alert
  •  beget
  •  propel
  •  arouse
  •  induce
  •  convince
  •  whip up
  •  stimulate
  •  swift
  •  awaken
  •  galvanize
  •  timely
  •  lead
  •  occasion
  •  precipitate
  •  on time
  •  inspire
  •  activate
  •  on the dot
  •  coax
  •  prick
  •  call forth
  •  start
  •  touch off
  •  produce
  •  spur
  •  stimulus
  •  excite
  •  motivate
  •  straightaway
  •  spark
  •  foment

There are also a great many words that mean the opposite of the word prompt. These are called antonyms. English language antonyms are also very useful grammatical devices to know. This list of antonyms for the word prompt is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  late
  •  unnerve
  •  delayed
  •  overdue
  •  put off
  •  prevent
  •  lazy
  •  check
  •  daunt
  •  arrest
  •  disincline
  •  dilatory
  •  dishearten
  •  leisurely
  •  dampen
  •  lagging
  •  tardy
  •  disfavor
  •  crush
  •  advise against
  •  dispirit
  •  laggard
  •  hinder
  •  damp
  •  demoralize
  •  demoralise
  •  dissuade
  •  caution
  •  dragging
  •  demotivate
  •  delay
  •  caution against
  •  non-punctual
  •  unpunctual
  •  discourage
  •  block
  •  belated
  •  dismay
  •  curb
  •  depress
  •  slow
  •  stop
  •  deject
  •  deprecate
  •  halt
  •  intimidate
  •  disappoint
  •  decrease
  •  abash
  •  deter

Overall, the word prompt means many things as a noun, adjective or verb. This word is Latin in origin.


  1. Prompt synonyms – 2 554 Words and Phrases for Prompt | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Prompt antonyms – 897 Opposites of Prompt | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Prompt definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  4. prompt | Origin and meaning of prompt | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. prompt: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense