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

Other Words from expectation

expectational \ ˌek-​ˌspek-​ˈtā-​shə-​nᵊl How to pronounce expectation (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.
Recent Examples on the Web The expectation is Yzerman will have someone in place by the draft, which is July 7-8. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 9 May 2022 The expectation is that both drugs will ultimately be available in about 100 low- and middle-income countries, covering about half the world’s population. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 8 May 2022 But in others, like marketing or engineering, the expectation is at least two or three years. Jane Thier, Fortune, 4 May 2022 The pandemic is in a much different place, and the expectation is that China will gradually lift restrictions. Chris Smith, BGR, 29 Apr. 2022 The expectation is that the next round of media rights will be worth $6 billion to $7 billion over five years. Mike Ozanian, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Coming home for a critical game 3 tonight, the expectation is that Denver’s offense runs exclusively through its best player in a must-win matchup. Xl Media, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 This time, the expectation is that the Lakers will see who is available as the playoffs unfold, their top options still coaching teams under long-term contracts. Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2022 The expectation was that Stephan would seek election to the office the following year and the appointment was criticized as a move to set her up as the incumbent. Michael Smolenscolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of expectation

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near expectation

expectant mother


expectation of life

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for expectation

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Expectation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectation. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for expectation


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on expectation

Nglish: Translation of expectation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expectation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about expectation


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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