Definition of prompt in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /prɒm(p)t/


[with object]
1(Of an event or fact) cause or bring about (an action or feeling): the violence prompted a wave of refugees to flee the country
More example sentences
  • This may have been prompted by the fact that I have a job interview on Thursday.
  • The study has been prompted by the fact the number of retests has more than doubled since 1999.
  • The contract prohibits layoffs unless prompted by events beyond the company's control.
1.1 (prompt someone to/to do something) Cause someone to take a course of action: curiosity prompted him to look inside
More example sentences
  • Of course, they could be prompted to write in response to emotions on a biochemical rather than conscious level.
  • Winslow's instincts prompted her to change course three years ago to pursue her dream of becoming an author.
  • That would of course prompt him to talk about the park yesterday.
induce, make, move, cause, motivate, lead, dispose, persuade, incline, encourage, stimulate, prod, impel, spur on, urge, inspire;
2Encourage (a hesitating speaker) to say something: [with direct speech]: ‘And the picture?’ he prompted
More example sentences
  • Mistakenly believing that he needs encouragement, I prompt: ‘does it make you happy to write?’
  • It must be nearly thirty years since I have read it but I could almost quote it as soon as the first line prompted me.
  • The elder daughter silently mouths the word to prompt her sister.
remind, cue, give someone a cue, help out, coach, feed;
jog someone's memory, refresh someone's memory
2.1Supply a forgotten word or line to (an actor) during the performance of a play.
Example sentences
  • Not only are there no other performers to distract the audience, there is no handy support mechanism to prompt a line.
  • Considering that each has no other actor to prompt them, they do a remarkable job.
  • Yes, and we had to keep prompting her with her lines and said most of them ourselves.
2.2 Computing (Of a computer) request input from (a user): the online form prompts users for data
More example sentences
  • When prompted for a password, be sure to write it down.
  • You can't shop, bank or read many newspapers online without being prompted for a password.
  • You will be prompted for your password, and the file should copy to the current directory.


1An act of encouraging a hesitating speaker: with barely a prompt, Barbara talked on
More example sentences
  • I sat here and said ‘Aye’ in response to Mr Speaker's prompts.
  • Practise active, reflective listening - listen carefully, repeat what you've heard to make sure you understand and give positive prompts to encourage your child to continue.
  • Scott's own contribution to the evening seems to have been limited to a whispered prompt.
1.1A word or phrase spoken as a reminder to an actor of a forgotten word or line.
Example sentences
  • Phil stormed onto the stage, pulled the ear piece from Gary's ear and demanded that he do his trick without the aid of offstage prompts.
  • While the other performers continued mouthing their parts to give the impression that a technical fault had occurred, the culprit was given a prompt.
1.2 another term for prompter.
1.3 Computing A word or symbol on a screen to show that the system is waiting for input.
Example sentences
  • Note that Windows, except at the DOS command prompt, supports forward slashes in all file paths.
  • A display manager provides a graphical login prompt for the user.
  • Delete the existing DOS partition by following the prompts on screen.
2The time limit for the payment of an account, stated on a prompt note.


1Done without delay; immediate: she would have died but for the prompt action of two ambulancemen
More example sentences
  • The day I brought Band-Aids, a large number of animals suddenly needed prompt attention.
  • I must commend the RTA for a prompt reply to my letter, and their immediate attention to this dangerous situation.
  • The instantaneous nature of the net then provokes a prompt response.
quick, swift, rapid, speedy, fast, direct, immediate, instant, instantaneous, expeditious, early, punctual, in good time, on time, timely;
ready, willing, eager, unhesitating
archaic rathe
1.1(Of a person) acting without delay: the fans were prompt in complying with police requests
More example sentences
  • I am, generally, a prompt person and I'm giving you ample notice.
  • The doctors and staff were very prompt in checking me out and were not sure whether I was having a severe angina attack or a mild heart attack.
  • I called the police and they were very prompt but they didn't catch him.
1.2(Of goods) for immediate delivery and payment.


Exactly (with reference to a specified time): I set off at three-thirty prompt
informal bang on, spot on
North American informal on the button, on the nose
Australian/New Zealand informal on the knocker



Pronunciation: /ˈprɒm(p)tɪtjuːd/
Example sentences
  • The web writer jumps from stone to stone in this giddy lake, with his/her own feverish promptitude being the singular millstone.
  • With customary promptitude and precision our historian completed his task.
  • I reached the pit with a swift promptitude and charged back with even quicker speed.


Pronunciation: /ˈprɒm(p)tnəs/
Example sentences
  • My self-righteousness faded immediately, for the principal replied with astonishing promptness and courtesy.
  • As part of this contract, orders for NHS medicines are dispensed for patients on demand with reasonable promptness.
  • The promptness of the administration when it comes to demolishing our houses and arresting us is admirable.


Middle English (as a verb): based on Old French prompt or Latin promptus 'brought to light', also 'prepared, ready', past participle of promere 'to produce', from pro- 'out, forth' + emere 'take'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: prompt

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.