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

The left-hander scurried along the baseline, this way and that, using a combination of quickness and anticipation to track down what often appeared to be winners for Williams but were not enough to end a point. Howard Fendrich,, "Angelique Kerber outplays Serena Williams, wins her first Wimbledon title," 14 July 2018 Line up your love goals with both steadiness and anticipation. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes July 2018," 2 July 2018 The sight was something to make so many Texas anglers grin, with that smile triggered by memories or anticipation. Shannon Tompkins Staff Writer, San Antonio Express-News, "June spawn signals peak in Texas sunfish action," 7 June 2018 The sight was something to make so many Texas anglers grin, with that smile triggered by memories or anticipation. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "June spawn signals peak in Texas sunfish action," 3 June 2018 With great expectation and anticipation, the payoff for a horrid season came on Tuesday night for the Mavericks in the NBA Draft lottery. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Karma slaps Cuban with Mavs in the NBA lottery | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 15 May 2018 This week's hearing, though, carried the expectation and anticipation of a trial inside a packed court room. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Fallout from merit board's Aaron Bailey decision ripples across Indianapolis," 11 May 2018 Hear from Chase Headley, Freddy Galvis, Andy Green and more on the excitement and anticipation of playing the Dodgers in Mexico. Kevin Acee,, "Padres excited for experience of series in Mexico," 3 May 2018 Consensus: Productive, experienced passer with good size and anticipation, though his downfield accuracy and just-adequate arm strength will make him for everybody. Terez A. Paylor, kansascity, "Chiefs have their franchise QB, but we're still ranking the top signal-callers in this year's NFL Draft | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 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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Statistics for anticipation

Last Updated

8 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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