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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The company had already increased its share-price expectation once this week, from $50 to $60 for its 51.6 million shares, and its debut comes on the heels of a strong showing from fellow Internet company DoorDash — optimistic signs for Airbnb. Washington Post, "Airbnb’s stock soars in its debut, the biggest tech IPO of a rocky year," 10 Dec. 2020 The Bank of Korea on Thursday forecast the economy would contract 1.1% this year, an improvement on its earlier expectation for a 1.3% drop. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "South Korea’s Central Bank Says Covid-19 Rise Won’t Derail Economic Recovery," 26 Nov. 2020 Motzko said after the series finale, emphasizing his expectation that his players will adhere to stringent social distancing. Randy Johnson, Star Tribune, "Gophers men's hockey continues its opening blur of a season on Monday," 22 Nov. 2020 We were hunkered down and doing our own thing and everybody is chasing their own dream, their own expectation. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Geno Auriemma’s early imperfections continue to drive his march toward basketball history after 35 seasons at UConn," 20 Nov. 2020 But as the state turned red, bettors perhaps spooked by Trump’s surprising victory in 2016 poured money in on the incumbent, which defied his expectation. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Biden-Trump election has been a roller-coaster ride for bettors," 4 Nov. 2020 My expectation that Brandon might offer a single, harrowing story that explained Shield AI’s founding was misguided. Elliott Ackerman, Wired, "A Navy SEAL, a Quadcopter, and a Quest to Save Lives in Combat," 30 Oct. 2020 The fan furor resulted in a team meeting with athletic director Chris Del Conte and Herman where Del Conte explained his expectation was to have players honor fans and the university by staying for the Eyes. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "How ‘The Eyes of Texas’ controversy is becoming more of a distraction for the Longhorns," 20 Oct. 2020 Since that initial 2021 forecast in July, OPEC has cut its expectation of the world’s need for its members’ crude each month, and for almost every quarter. Julian Lee, Bloomberg.com, "OPEC’s Ever-Deteriorating View of the Oil Market," 15 Oct. 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.

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First Known Use of expectation

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for expectation

Time Traveler

The first known use of expectation was in 1540

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Statistics for expectation

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expectation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectation. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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.

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Comments on expectation

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