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 With the recent loss of my Mother, my feeling of anticipation for the holidays has shifted, and I am left searching for a way to reconnect with my holiday cheer. Naomi Elizée, Vogue, "7 Creatives on Why They are Buying Black This Holiday Season," 27 Nov. 2020 On top of the building anticipation for Lego’s newest and largest set are several sales and deals on Lego sets that might be worth considering. Jonathan Bender, NBC News, "Lego reveals new Roman Colosseum set, the largest Lego set ever," 18 Nov. 2020 Some Maryland hospitals have already begun ordering ultra-low-temperature freezers in anticipation of approvals for the first COVID-19 vaccines. Hallie Miller,, "Coronavirus in Maryland: 5 takeaways from the week," 13 Nov. 2020 The news ended nearly four days of anticipation for election results, which found many voters breathlessly glued to cable news, poring over maps and ballot counts as new numbers trickled in. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Joe Biden election victory: CNN's Van Jones breaks down in tears; Rachel Maddow, more media figures react," 7 Nov. 2020 Fans had long hoped the school would rejoin its former conference rivals in the new Big East, and since that move was made in June 2019, anticipation for this season has been running high, with a dramatic rise in ticket sales. Dom Amore,, "UConn basketball fans disappointed but understanding of decision to play Gampel games without them," 3 Nov. 2020 To build anticipation for the opening in Tempe, Culdesac has been hosting semiregular video calls with prospective residents, who give input on the final design. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "The Capital of Sprawl Gets a Radically Car-Free Neighborhood," 31 Oct. 2020 Scalpers have seized on the buildup of anticipation for the new products by driving up prices. Jacqueline Davalos,, "Sony’s PlayStation 5 Is Beating Xbox in the Online Black Market," 29 Oct. 2020 The couple, as well as their niece and nephew, are already stocking up on virtual candy and decorating their respective islands in anticipation for trick-or-treating. Elise Favis, Washington Post, "Families turn to ‘Animal Crossing’ for trick-or-treating amid covid-19 fears," 28 Oct. 2020

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

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anticipation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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

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