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

Essential Meaning of anticipation

1 : a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen She had a feeling of great anticipation before her graduation ceremony. He looked forward to the party with anticipation. The actor's fans were trembling with/in anticipation [=excitement] when his limousine drove up.
2 : the act of preparing for something They hired extra police officers in anticipation of a big crowd [=because they expected a big crowd] at the concert.

Full 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

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 Bond yields have been rising around that world in anticipation of higher interest rate policies from global central banks. Anneken Tappe, CNN, 19 Jan. 2022 The board returned to having an in-person audience at its December meeting and moved the meeting to Clay Middle School in anticipation of a crowd, however the meeting was largely quiet and routine. Mj Slaby, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Jan. 2022 The Bentonville School District will dismiss one hour early Wednesday in anticipation of poor weather, the district announced. Dave Perozek, Arkansas Online, 19 Jan. 2022 The all-important Christmas and New Year’s weeks, which producers count on each year to fatten their coffers in anticipation of the lean weeks that follow, generated just $40 million this season, down from $99 million before the pandemic. New York Times, 16 Jan. 2022 Mayor Michelle Wu declared a cold emergency in Boston for Saturday in anticipation of sub-zero temperatures expected through the weekend, the mayor’s office said Friday evening. Globe Correspondent,, 15 Jan. 2022 Samsung planned an Exynos 2200 reveal for January 11th and made a big deal about it on social media in anticipation of it. Chris Smith, BGR, 14 Jan. 2022 In anticipation of his first visit to Paris, Shawn Richards created the perfect plan for seeing the Eiffel Tower. Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2022 The school has quadrupled available isolation spaces in anticipation of a rise in cases whenever students do return en masse. Melissa Korn, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022

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

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

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anticipation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for anticipation


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


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on anticipation

Nglish: Translation of anticipation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anticipation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about anticipation


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