Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


intr.v. pros·pered, pros·per·ing, pros·pers
To be fortunate or successful, especially in terms of one's finances; thrive.

[Middle English prosperen, from Old French prosperer, from Latin prosperāre, to render fortunate, from prosperus, favorable; see spē- in Indo-European roots.]



(See also SUCCESS.)

flourish like a green bay tree Thrive vigorously; succeed overwhelmingly. Every year, the bay tree is adorned with numerous new branches growing along the entire length of its trunk. This characteristic, from which the expression is derived, is alluded to in the Bible:

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. (Psalms 37:35)

go great guns To proceed with great momentum toward one’s goal; to be well on the way to success; to act with gusto or go full steam ahead. Dating from the early 15th century, great gun referred to a large fire-arm like a cannon, as opposed to a small gun ‘musket, rifle.’ By the late 1800s, these uses of great and small became obsolete—however, the exclamation great guns gained currency, perhaps alluding to the loudness, forcefulness, and bigness of cannon and other large fire-arms.

But great guns! is a man obliged to blurt out everything he honestly thinks? (Pall Mall Magazine, August, 1895)

To go great guns appeared later and has since been current.

A moment later Louvois shot out, passed Sanquhar and Fairy King, and going great guns … beat the favorite by a head. (Field, May 3, 1913)

go to town To be successful, to thrive or prosper; to work very hard or energetically. This American slang expression is thought to have originated among the rural inhabitants of the backwoods who really whooped it up when they went out on the town for a spree.

land-office business A highly successful, very profitable, rapidly expanding business or enterprise; any period of high-volume sales. Although this expression has been in use for well over a hundred years, its popularity increased when the United States Government Land Office, after the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, was swamped with work as hundreds of thousands of families and speculators sought free or low-cost land. Though the onslaught had eased by 1900, the Homesteading Program was not terminated until 1974. The phrase, however, has continued in widespread figurative use.

A practical printer … could do a land-office business here. (New Orleans Picayune, April 2, 1839)

sail before the wind To be successful or prosperous; to proceed smoothly and easily, without outside interference; to breeze through a task, project, or other matter. This expression alludes to a sailing vessel’s moving forward smoothly and rapidly when it has a following wind to fill the sails.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.prospering - very lively and profitable; "flourishing businesses"; "a palmy time for stockbrokers"; "a prosperous new business"; "doing a roaring trade"; "a thriving tourist center"; "did a thriving business in orchids"
successful - having succeeded or being marked by a favorable outcome; "a successful architect"; "a successful business venture"


Improving, growing, or succeeding steadily:
References in classic literature ?
This thing of using the common beggar's trick and the common beggar's shibboleth to put you on your liberality when you were expecting a simple straightforward commercial transaction, adds a little to your prospering sense of irritation.
I have already said, that for my prospering there, I am sensible I may be indebted to you, sir.
She was happy and useful, was prospering as she had hoped.