ex·​pec·​ta·​tion | \ ˌek-ˌspek-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce expectation (audio) , ik-\

Definition of expectation

1 : the act or state of expecting : anticipation in expectation of what would happen
2a : something expected not up to expectations expectations for an economic recovery
b : basis for expecting : assurance they have every expectation of success
c : prospects of inheritance usually used in plural
3 : the state of being expected

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from expectation

expectational \ ˌek-​ˌspek-​ˈtā-​shə-​nᵊl How to pronounce expectational (audio) , -​shnəl \ adjective

Examples of expectation in a Sentence

The company has expectations of making a profit next year. I saved the files in the expectation that they would be useful in the future. There is widespread expectation that the strike will be settled soon. The crowd waited in expectation of her arrival.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Fans, you will not be disappointed! Surpassed all my hopes and expectations. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Reactions from People Who Watched the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere in NYC," 6 Apr. 2019 And for so long, when travelers flocked to France with an expectation of coming back with their suitcase filled to the brim, those classics are what the collective imagination called to mind. Glamour, "The Best French Brands You Haven’t Heard Of Yet," 29 Mar. 2019 Nouvel designed a museum that behaves like music, with an underlying logic but a persistent sense of expectation. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019 However, because most games are played on private platforms, not open public forums, expectations of privacy or free speech would largely not apply. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel hopes to clean up toxic speech in game chat with AI and machine learning," 20 Mar. 2019 Over a late-night conversation on Skype, Willow opened up about learning to own her power, how the racist history of feminism breaks her heart, and how gender roles and the expectations of others fueled her to push for lasting change. Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Harper's BAZAAR, "Willow Smith Opens Up About What the Future of Feminism Actually Looks Like," 19 Feb. 2019 Hart’s homophobia, like that of men from other races, is a byproduct of toxic masculinity and unfair expectations of gender performance. Ernest Owens, Vox, "What it’s like to be black and gay watching the Kevin Hart controversy unfold.," 7 Jan. 2019 The performance was well above expectations for a flat reading, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada. Paul Vieira, WSJ, "Canada Posts Another Surprise Gain in Employment," 8 Mar. 2019 That’s one hell of a shakeup—though just like with The Division 2, time will tell if this is a one-off experiment or a new expectation for Deep Silver’s games. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Metro Exodus is skipping Steam for the Epic Games Store, and passing the savings on to you," 28 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expectation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of expectation

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for expectation



English Language Learners Definition of expectation

: a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen
: a feeling or belief about how successful, good, etc., someone or something will be


ex·​pec·​ta·​tion | \ ˌek-ˌspek-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce expectation (audio) \

Kids Definition of expectation

1 : the state of looking forward to or waiting for something The crowd waited in expectation for her.
2 : something expected The expectation was for a win.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on expectation

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!