What is a single word that captures that one is "about to be" (but not quite yet) X?

For example, the "about to be" employee of the company.

This is something like: The incipient X. However, clearly "incipient" implies that one has already become this X.

Has my mind simply lapsed and there is some obvious term for this which has escaped me today, or is there a neat word for this which is not common? One could use "future", but I don't like this because it does not capture that it is happening soon. Maybe a better rendering in many words is "the soon-to-be".



About to happen.

synonyms: imminent, close (at hand), near, nearing, approaching, coming


  • "Impending" and "Imminent" sound kind of like a threat to me (not surprising considering the origins of both words), which is funny given the example in the source :) I'll accept this in the minimum 9 minutes if there's not something else. – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 4:03
  • I went with imminent. It sounds good in the context. Thanks :) – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 4:12
  • 1
    My pleasure, you proceeded like clockwork. – Minnow Dec 12 '14 at 4:20

Try prospective:

1 : relating to or effective in the future
2 a : likely to come about : expected < the prospective benefits of this law >
b : likely to be or become < a prospective mother >

(Definition and examples from Merriam-Webster.com)


A future Chairman of a company might be described as the Chairman designate; doesn't work so well for the humble employee.


What is a single word that captures that one is "about to be" (but not quite yet) X?

The X-to-be.

You most often hear this with things like bride-to-be, meaning the person who will be the bride on the wedding day (who isn't currently the bride since she's only the bride on that one day).

You can however use it with anything where someone has a planned future role that they are not currently filling: bride-to-be, parents-to-be, employer-to-be, etc.

I've most commonly seen it describing relationships between people (like employee-to-be, as in your example) rather than describing attributes of a single person (like lawyer-to-be). However, it would certainly be understood if you used it in one of those less common ways.

  • Yes, X-to-be would have also worked quite well. Thanks :D – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 10:23

It is possible that forthcoming, prospective, or up-and-coming fit the bill here.

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