an·tic·i·pa·tion | \ (ˌ)an-ˌti-sə-ˈpā-shən \

Definition of anticipation 

1a : a prior action that takes into account or forestalls a later action hired more security guards in anticipation of a large crowd

b : the act of looking forward especially : pleasurable expectation looked forward with anticipation to their arrival

2 : the use of money before it is available

3a : visualization of a future event or state

b : an object or form that anticipates a later type

4 : the early sounding of one or more tones of a succeeding chord to form a temporary dissonance — compare suspension

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Choose the Right Synonym for anticipation

prospect, outlook, anticipation, foretaste mean an advance realization of something to come. prospect implies expectation of a particular event, condition, or development of definite interest or concern. the prospect of a quiet weekend outlook suggests a forecasting of the future. a favorable outlook for the economy anticipation implies a prospect or outlook that involves advance suffering or enjoyment of what is foreseen. the anticipation of her arrival foretaste implies an actual though brief or partial experience of something forthcoming. the frost was a foretaste of winter

Examples of anticipation in a Sentence

She had a feeling of great anticipation before her graduation ceremony. He looked forward to the party with anticipation.

Recent Examples on the Web

Guitarist Wayne Sermon says the group is raising the bar on the live show to deliver on the anticipation. Alan Sculley, kansascity, "Imagine Dragons: ‘Evolve’ show is ‘the most complicated production’ they’ve done," 11 July 2018 Obviously, there’s a parallel in the anticipation of motherhood between myself and Serena. Jennifer Vineyard, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Yvonne Strahovski on the Harrowing Finale and Serena’s Murky Future," 11 July 2018 While all of the acts drew cheers, in what has become an annual rite, much of the anticipation in the crowd was what current affairs topic would the lawn mower team select this year to lampoon. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "Controversial lawn mowers, firetruck sirens and crowds cheering the parade – a typical July 4 in Lake Bluff," 6 July 2018 The anticipation grows when word reaches Amon-ra, a five-star wide receiver out of Santa Ana Mater Dei High, that Julio Jones and Terrell Owens are working out at USC’s practice field on this Friday morning in June. J. Brady Mccollough,, "Meet 'the LaVar Ball of college football', whose youngest son is determined to live up to the hype at USC," 18 June 2018 Weather and the anticipation that many teams were rebuilding are factors. Tom Verducci,, "There Are Too Many Strikeouts in Baseball: Here's How to Fix the Problem," 14 June 2018 The anticipation of a turn in the weather in the San Antonio area caught the attention of cattle raisers. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "Rain to come after long dry spell, but will it be enough to stop a drought?," 14 June 2018 The 2018 World Cup kicks off on June 14, much to the anticipation of 32 teams, more than 700 players and a countless number of fans. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "World Cup schedule, how to watch and other things to know," 13 June 2018 The anticipation of something-that-was-not-misery came. Gordon Edgar, Smithsonian, "A Brief History of America’s Appetite for Macaroni and Cheese," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anticipation.' 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 anticipation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for anticipation

see anticipate

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Phrases Related to anticipation

in anticipation of

Statistics for anticipation

Last Updated

30 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anticipation

The first known use of anticipation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for anticipation



English Language Learners Definition of anticipation

: a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen

: the act of preparing for something


an·tic·i·pa·tion | \ an-ˌti-sə-ˈpā-shən \

Kids Definition of anticipation

1 : excitement about something that's going to happen She looked forward to the trip with anticipation.

2 : the act of preparing for something


an·tic·i·pa·tion | \ (ˌ)an-ˌtis-ə-ˈpā-shən \

Medical Definition of anticipation 

1 : occurrence (as of a disease or symptom) before the normal or expected time

2 : mental attitude that influences a later response

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an·ti·ci·pa·tion | \ an-ˌti-sə-ˈpā-shən \

Legal Definition of anticipation 

: the knowledge or use of an invention in the U.S. or the patenting or describing of the invention in a publication in the U.S. or a foreign country before the discovery by a patent applicant

Note: Case law has established that every claim or element of a claim has to be disclosed in the prior art in order for a patent application to be barred by anticipation. If an application is amended to consist of claims not disclosed in the prior art, invalidation by anticipation can be avoided.

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Comments on anticipation

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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