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verb ex·pect \ik-ˈspekt\

Simple Definition of expect

  • : to think that something will probably or certainly happen

  • : to think that (someone or something) will arrive or that (something) will happen

  • : to consider (something) to be reasonable, required, or necessary

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of expect

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  wait, stay

  3. 2 :  to look forward

  4. 3 :  to be pregnant :  await the birth of one's child —used in progressive tenses <she's expecting next month>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 archaic :  await

  7. 2 :  to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of <we expect them any minute now> <expected a telephone call>

  8. 3 :  suppose, think

  9. 4 a :  to consider probable or certain <expect to be forgiven> <expect that things will improve> b :  to consider reasonable, due, or necessary <expected hard work from the students> c :  to consider bound in duty or obligated <they expect you to pay your bills>


play \-ˈspek-tə-bəl\ adjective


play \-blē\ adverb





Examples of expect in a sentence

  1. As expected, the election was very close.

  2. It's expected that the new products will be available next month.

  3. Prices are expected to rise.

  4. He's opposed to the new law, as you might expect.

  5. Good things sometimes happen when you least expect them.

  6. I'm expecting a phone call.

  7. The expected delivery date is next month.

  8. He's a teacher who expects hard work from his students.

  9. We expected more from you.

  10. This is not the kind of behavior I expected of you.

Origin and Etymology of expect

Latin exspectare to look forward to, from ex- + spectare to look at, frequentative of specere to look — more at spy

First Known Use: 1560

Synonym Discussion of expect

expect, hope, look mean to await some occurrence or outcome. expect implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of preparing or envisioning <expects to be finished by Tuesday>. hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen <hopes to find a job soon>. look, with to, implies assurance that expectations will be fulfilled <looks to a tidy profit from the sale>; with for it implies less assurance and suggests an attitude of expectancy and watchfulness <look for rain when the wind shifts to the northeast>.

EXPECT Defined for Kids


verb ex·pect \ik-ˈspekt\

Definition of expect for Students



  1. 1 :  to think that something probably will be or happen <They expect rain.> <Close up the motorcycle looked even better than he expected. — Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle>

  2. 2 :  to await the arrival of <We're expecting guests.>

  3. 3 :  to consider to be obliged <I expect you to pay your debts.>

  4. 4 :  to consider reasonable, due, or necessary <I expect your attention.>

Medical Dictionary


intransitive verb ex·pect \ik-ˈspekt\

Medical Definition of expect

  1. :  to be pregnant :  await the birth of one's child—used in progressive tenses <she's expecting next month>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up expect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to permeate or influence as if by dyeing

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