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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Even the best cloud strategies can’t always anticipate the variability of cloud usage. Steve Daly, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Experts can anticipate who may develop spasticity after a stroke using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which creates three-dimensional images of the brain. Sara Gaynes Levy, SELF, 16 May 2022 But the market can’t anticipate the psychology of infectious selling. Andy Kessler, WSJ, 15 May 2022 But here is what to expect: Since negative campaigning works, Alabamians can anticipate more of the same after the primary is over. al, 15 May 2022 My conversations with swipers were a reminder that the city can’t always anticipate the consequences of its policies—in the subways or anywhere else. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 14 May 2022 There's no release date set yet, but fans can anticipate seeing Tano on their screens again sometime in 2022. ELLE, 8 Apr. 2022 While season three will not premiere for some time—season two just came out—viewers can still eagerly anticipate even more Bridgerton to come. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 25 Mar. 2022 Incredible how a diagrammatic painting of a luxury product can simultaneously anticipate the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and hark back to Oscar Wilde and Henry James. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of anticipate was in 1532

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anticipate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for anticipate


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


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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