an·​tic·​i·​pa·​tion | \ (ˌ)an-ˌti-sə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce anticipation (audio) \

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 Or, might the anticipation of MLB punishment make the team more willing to carry a robust payroll (beyond the luxury tax threshold) this year in an effort to move past the current embarrassments? Alex Speier,, "Alex Cora’s departure leaves a giant void in the Red Sox," 15 Jan. 2020 Adam Sandler delivers a shock to the system (both nervous and cinematic), a performance that goes beyond the wildest anticipations to create a new level and kind of movie energy. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Fossilized 2020 Oscar Nominations," 13 Jan. 2020 The Eagles committed seven turnovers as a result of STVM's anticipation on those passes in the half-court set. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Seasoned St. Edward sends reminder, takes down top-ranked St. Vincent-St. Mary, 78-70, in No. 1 vs. 2 clash," 4 Jan. 2020 In Translation: The term refers to selling stocks in the anticipation that corporate earnings growth is about to slow. WSJ, "Investing in Funds & ETFs," 2 Jan. 2020 Rather than excited anticipation, the trailer went straight to confused meme-making territory. Sarah Midkiff,, "A Cats Catastrophe? The Film Could Lose £75 Million & Its Awards Consideration," 1 Jan. 2020 This anticipation of a coming squall of Internet humiliation has, like many Internet things, become weaponized. Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "The 24 most important viral reactions on the Internet in the past 20 years," 30 Dec. 2019 The final game of the 2016 World Series has started, and more than 38,000 baseball fans have gathered to watch in nervous anticipation as the innings tick up -- from the bottom of the seventh to the top of the ninth. Adeline Chen, CNN, "Scorekeeper secrets: How Wrigley Field's historic scoreboard has seen it all," 27 Dec. 2019 Directors were fired from all these films left and right, and for all that, The Rise of Skywalker seems to be hitting theaters with more of a sense of exhausted obligation than breathless anticipation. John Gilpatrick, Popular Mechanics, "The Marvel Decade: How Superheroes Ruled the Cinema in the 2010s," 26 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for anticipation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for anticipation

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anticipation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for anticipation


How to pronounce anticipation (audio)

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 How to pronounce anticipation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce anticipation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce anticipation (audio) \

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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