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 The virus has also seemingly affected Apple, with the tech giant saying coronavirus will keep it from meeting revenue expectations. NBC News, "Bloomberg to join debate, Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy protection: The Morning Rundown," 18 Feb. 2020 Critics note there are schools with single-digit reading proficiency that meet expectations because of myriad factors that affect scores. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New group seeks fundamental shift in the way Wisconsin teaches children to read," 12 Feb. 2020 So, as this primary season begins, watch the relationships between expectations, votes and media coverage. Daniel Palazzolo, The Conversation, "Candidates say they want to build momentum with voters – but what is that actually worth?," 12 Feb. 2020 Its adjusted profit was 10 cents per share, meeting the expectations of analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research. CBS News, "Under Armour slides after disappointing earnings and coronavirus warning," 11 Feb. 2020 Sanders’ closest rival ideologically is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and both of them are from states that neighbor New Hampshire, so expectations are high for both of them in Tuesday’s primary. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Watch live: Buttigieg and Sanders seek momentum at New Hampshire debate after scoring big in Iowa," 8 Feb. 2020 The potential flaws in that system are underscored by the company’s record production of 2.198 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the fourth quarter, which helped it meet profit expectations for the period. Mikael Holter, Bloomberg.com, "Equinor Boosts Climate Targets as Oil Output Hits Record," 6 Feb. 2020 Zverev came into the tournament with no expectations, from the public or from himself. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "At the Australian Open, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev Look, Again, Like Heirs to the Throne," 31 Jan. 2020 These are stifling expectations, yet Ghatak offers no critique of them. Ratik Asokan, The New York Review of Books, "A New Look At Ritwik Ghatak’s Bengal," 25 Jan. 2020

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

Learn More about expectation

Time Traveler for expectation

Time Traveler

The first known use of expectation was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Statistics for expectation

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Expectation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectation. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for expectation


How to pronounce expectation (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!