an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Definition of anticipate

transitive verb

1 : to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to
2 : to meet (an obligation) before a due date
3 : to foresee and deal with in advance : forestall
4 : to use or expend in advance of actual possession
5 : to act before (another) often so as to check or counter
6 : to look forward to as certain : expect We don't anticipate any problems during the construction.

intransitive verb

: to speak or write in knowledge or expectation of later matter

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Other Words from anticipate

anticipatable \ an-​ˈti-​sə-​ˌpā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \ adjective
anticipator \ an-​ˈti-​sə-​ˌpā-​tər How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for anticipate


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foresee, foreknow, divine, anticipate mean to know beforehand. foresee implies nothing about how the knowledge is derived and may apply to ordinary reasoning and experience. economists should have foreseen the recession foreknow usually implies supernatural assistance, as through revelation. if only we could foreknow our own destinies divine adds to foresee the suggestion of exceptional wisdom or discernment. was able to divine Europe's rapid recovery from the war anticipate implies taking action about or responding emotionally to something before it happens. the waiter anticipated our every need

prevent, anticipate, forestall mean to deal with beforehand. prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable. measures taken to prevent leaks anticipate may imply merely getting ahead of another by being a precursor or forerunner or it may imply checking another's intention by acting first. anticipated the question by making a statement forestall implies a getting ahead so as to stop or interrupt something in its course. hoped to forestall the sale

Examples of anticipate in a Sentence

The cost turned out to be higher than anticipated. The author anticipated objections to his theory. The organizers of the fair anticipate a large crowd. I did not anticipate having to pay for your ticket. He eagerly anticipated her arrival.
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Recent Examples on the Web Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and resettlement workers anticipate that refugees will begin arriving in large numbers in communities across the U.S., perhaps as early as next week, after clearing security checks and other vetting. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021 Several Democrats anticipate making that a central campaign issue against her this fall. Don Stacom,, 13 Sep. 2021 Retail executives, according to the KPMG survey, anticipate that 2021 holiday sales will represent an average of 35% of their company’s total annual sales. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 11 Sep. 2021 White-collar professionals anticipate a bonus in or around January. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 Some anticipate a surge in job seekers, though in 22 states that already phased out those benefits, workers didn’t flood back to jobs. Heather Long, Alyssa Fowers, Andrew Van Dam, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Sep. 2021 Some anticipate a surge in job seekers, though in 22 states that already phased out those benefits, workers didn’t flood back to jobs. Washington Post, 4 Sep. 2021 Some experts anticipate four times as many cases in kids. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Sep. 2021 But coaches anticipate that several other contenders will materialize this season, including Sunset, Canby, Bend and South Salem. oregonlive, 1 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anticipate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anticipate

1532, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for anticipate

Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare, from ante- + -cipare (from capere to take) — more at heave entry 1

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Time Traveler for anticipate

Time Traveler

The first known use of anticipate was in 1532

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anticipate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for anticipate



English Language Learners Definition of anticipate

: to think of (something that will or might happen in the future) : expect
: to expect or look ahead to (something) with pleasure : to look forward to (something)
: to do something before someone else


an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Kids Definition of anticipate

1 : to foresee and deal with or provide for beforehand The waiters anticipate your every wish.
2 : to look forward to … now everyone anticipated the celebration.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising


an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈtis-ə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Medical Definition of anticipate

transitive verb

: to give advance thought to

intransitive verb

: to come before the expected time used especially of medical symptoms

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transitive verb
an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Legal Definition of anticipate

1 : to bar or invalidate (a patent) by anticipation the patent on the compound had been anticipated by the Beilstein referenceMisani v. Ortho Pharm. Corp., 210 A.2d 609 (1965)
2 : to negate the novelty of (an invention) by its appearance in prior art appeared to have anticipated a variable light makeup mirrorWilson v. Bristol-Myers Co., 503 N.Y.S.2d 334 (1986)

More from Merriam-Webster on anticipate

Nglish: Translation of anticipate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anticipate for Arabic Speakers


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