ex·​pect | \ik-ˈspekt \
expected; expecting; expects

Definition of expect 

intransitive verb

1 archaic : wait, stay

2 : to look forward

3 : to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child used in progressive tenses she's expecting next month

transitive verb

1 archaic : await

2 : to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of we expect them any minute now expected a telephone call

3 : suppose, think

4a : to consider probable or certain expect to be forgiven expect that things will improve

b : to consider reasonable, due, or necessary expected hard work from the students

c : to consider bound in duty or obligated they expect you to pay your bills

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Other Words from expect

expectable \ik-​ˈspek-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
expectably \ik-​ˈspek-​tə-​blē \ adverb
expectedly adverb
expectedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for expect

expect, hope, look mean to await some occurrence or outcome. expect implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of preparing or envisioning. expects to be finished by Tuesday hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen. hopes to find a job soon look, with to, implies assurance that expectations will be fulfilled looks to a tidy profit from the sale ; with for it implies less assurance and suggests an attitude of expectancy and watchfulness. look for rain when the wind shifts to the northeast

Examples of expect in a Sentence

As expected, the election was very close. It's expected that the new products will be available next month. Prices are expected to rise. He's opposed to the new law, as you might expect. Good things sometimes happen when you least expect them. I'm expecting a phone call. The expected delivery date is next month. He's a teacher who expects hard work from his students. We expected more from you. This is not the kind of behavior I expected of you.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Markle is also expecting her first child, due in spring 2019. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Royal Family's Christmas Decorations Are the Polar Opposite of the White House's," 4 Dec. 2018 Photo: sergio moraes/Reuters Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said the market is now expecting a production cut between 1 and 1.5 million barrels a day. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Oil Prices Rise on Expectations for a Production Cut," 3 Dec. 2018 The vast majority of our DNA—the chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell—is just what you’d expect: a mix of genetic material from both mother and father. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Plot twist: Mitochondrial DNA can come from both parents," 28 Nov. 2018 Like the rest of the nation, Minneapolis faces an affordable housing crisis that is expected to get worse. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Here’s what a plan to tackle climate change, density, and affordability looks like," 27 Nov. 2018 And it will be needed: annual passengers coming through this gateway are expected to top 80 million by 2035, up from around 60 million today. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "New York's Airports Are Getting Billion-Dollar Makeovers—But What Will They Actually Change?," 21 Nov. 2018 Work on the 2-mile test tunnel began last year, and earlier this month, Musk posted a time-lapse video of his walk down its length, saying that the the tunnel is still expected to open to the public on December 10th. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The Boring Company has completed digging its first tunnel," 17 Nov. 2018 The Parker is expected to break that spacecraft's speed record for traveling relative to the Sun as well. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Probe Gets Closer to Sun Than Any Human-Made Object in History," 30 Oct. 2018 Naturally, Too Faced fans couldn't be more excited for the new collection to drop, which is expected to do so this November (that's this Thursday, folks) on toofaced.com. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Too Faced Is Launching Its Pretty Rich Makeup Collection This November," 29 Oct. 2018

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

1560, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for expect

Latin exspectare to look forward to, from ex- + spectare to look at, frequentative of specere to look — more at spy

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Statistics for expect

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expect

The first known use of expect was in 1560

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More Definitions for expect



English Language Learners Definition of expect

: to think that something will probably or certainly happen

: to think that (someone or something) will arrive or that (something) will happen

: to consider (something) to be reasonable, required, or necessary


ex·​pect | \ik-ˈspekt \
expected; expecting

Kids Definition of expect

1 : to think that something probably will be or happen They expect rain. Close up the motorcycle looked even better than he expected.— Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle

2 : to await the arrival of We're expecting guests.

3 : to consider to be obliged I expect you to pay your debts.

4 : to consider reasonable, due, or necessary I expect your attention.

ex·​pect | \ik-ˈspekt \

Medical Definition of expect 

: to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child used in progressive tenses she's expecting next month

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More from Merriam-Webster on expect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expect

Spanish Central: Translation of expect

Nglish: Translation of expect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on expect

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


to enclose within walls

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