A future, in the context of finance, refers to a standardized contract that obligates parties to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price on a specified future date. It is a derivative instrument commonly used for hedging or speculation in financial markets. Futures contracts are typically traded on organized exchanges and involve various underlying assets, such as commodities, currencies, stock indices, or interest rates. By entering into a future contract, investors can gain exposure to the price movements of the underlying asset without owning it outright.