ex·​pec·​tan·​cy | \ ik-ˈspek-tən(t)-sē How to pronounce expectancy (audio) \
plural expectancies

Definition of expectancy

1a : the act, action, or state of expecting the strange expectancy that getting on any train gives us— John Updike
b : the state of being expected occurs with an expectancy slightly greater than usual
2a : something expected their belief led to an expectancy
b : the expected amount (as of the number of years of life) based on statistical probability life expectancy

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Examples of expectancy in a Sentence

that feeling of optimistic expectancy that fills theatergoers as they wait for the curtain to rise
Recent Examples on the Web Fifty percent of the time, life-expectancy predictions are inaccurate, one of the doctors noted. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Standing Athwart More Suicide," 10 Feb. 2020 The life-expectancy gap has closed, the air is cleaner, the buildings smarter. The Economist, "Germans still don’t agree on what reunification meant," 31 Oct. 2019 Clearly, things such as a good life expectancy, social support and trust are good for us. Sam Wren-lewis, Quartz, "The secret of creating happy societies," 7 Dec. 2019 The return of Hazard and Rodriguez will benefit Madrid greatly, and there will be more of an expectancy to put in an accomplished performance. SI.com, "Real Madrid vs Levante Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 10 Sep. 2019 Georgia was extremely unfortunate to lose to South Carolina, finishing with a postgame win expectancy of 92 percent. Christopher Smith, al, "Week 8 SEC football betting preview," 19 Oct. 2019 The Stadio Olimpico was at full capacity, although confidence and expectancy were running on empty. SI.com, "Roma 3-0 Barcelona: The Night Roma Rose From Their Ruins," 1 Nov. 2019 Taylor is a redshirt junior who plays the position that has the shortest career expectancy. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Arizona LB Colin Schooler’s numbers are down, but he believes the Wildcats are on the rise," 16 Oct. 2019 The Bulldogs got unlucky against South Carolina, a game in which Georgia held a 92 percent win expectancy. Christopher Smith, al, "Why Alabama deserves to be the national championship favorite," 14 Oct. 2019

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

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for expectancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of expectancy was in 1600

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Statistics for expectancy

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Expectancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectancy. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for expectancy


How to pronounce expectancy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of expectancy

: a feeling that something is going to happen : the feeling that you have when you are expecting something


ex·​pec·​tan·​cy | \ -ˈspek-tən-sē How to pronounce expectancy (audio) \
plural expectancies

Medical Definition of expectancy

: the expected amount (as of the number of years of life) based on statistical probability — see life expectancy


plural expectancies

Legal Definition of expectancy

: something expected: as
a : an interest held by a person who may receive something (as a bequest) in the future but has no enforceable right to it
b : the benefit that will be received from a contract if performed

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