ex·​pect | \ ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio) \
expected; expecting; expects

Definition of expect

transitive verb

1a : to consider probable or certain expect to be forgiven expect that things will improve
b : to consider reasonable, due, or necessary expected hard work from the students
c : to consider bound in duty or obligated they expect you to pay your bills
2 : to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of we expect them any minute now expected a telephone call
3 : suppose, think
4 archaic : await

intransitive verb

1 : to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child used in progressive tenses she's expecting next month
2 : to look forward
3 archaic : wait, stay

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Other Words from expect

expectable \ ik-​ˈspek-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce expectable (audio) \ adjective
expectably \ ik-​ˈspek-​tə-​blē How to pronounce expectably (audio) \ adverb
expectedly adverb
expectedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for expect

expect, hope, look mean to await some occurrence or outcome. expect implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of preparing or envisioning. expects to be finished by Tuesday hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen. hopes to find a job soon look, with to, implies assurance that expectations will be fulfilled looks to a tidy profit from the sale ; with for it implies less assurance and suggests an attitude of expectancy and watchfulness. look for rain when the wind shifts to the northeast

Examples of expect in a Sentence

As expected, the election was very close. It's expected that the new products will be available next month. Prices are expected to rise. He's opposed to the new law, as you might expect. Good things sometimes happen when you least expect them. I'm expecting a phone call. The expected delivery date is next month. He's a teacher who expects hard work from his students. We expected more from you. This is not the kind of behavior I expected of you.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Amazon has unveiled a revolutionary new drone—part helicopter and part science-fiction aircraft—that the company expects to use for test deliveries of toothpaste and other household goods starting within months. Alan Levin, Fortune, "Amazon Reveals Its Latest Delivery Drone Design," 5 June 2019 Padres just looking for final assurances rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready; Matt Strahm to miss 10-12 days; Dickerson designated for assignment The Padres lost a pitcher for what is expected to be one start. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres put Strahm on IL, recall Diaz, hope Tatis is back Thursday," 5 June 2019 The men's finalist from Djokovic's top half -- expected to be either the world No. 1 or 2018 finalist Thiem -- will probably have to play on three of the final four days, with no customary day off between the quarterfinal and semifinal. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "French Open: Rain keeps Djokovic, Halep off court in wet Paris," 5 June 2019 The cannabis commission understands the difficulty of regulating edibles and expects the rules-writing process to last for the rest of this year, said William Tilburg, the commission’s policy director. Doug Donovan, baltimoresun.com, "When are cookies or brownies not 'food?' When they've got marijuana in them, Maryland regulators say," 5 June 2019 The disaster relief bill that President Trump is expected to sign is missing one significant component: money for the Disaster Relief Fund. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "What Long-Awaited Disaster Funding Does—And Does Not—Include," 5 June 2019 More: Phoenix Mercury expected to re-sign Leilani Mitchell on Wednesday Reach the reporter at jeff.metcalfe@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8053. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Yvonne Turner happy for EuroBasket opportunity, but Phoenix Mercury come first," 5 June 2019 The engineering angle is one the Wolverines will likely use to help their efforts with Edwards, who is expected to visit campus for a game in the upcoming season. Steven Lorenz, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football hopes to rekindle Louisiana magic with RB Kyle Edwards," 5 June 2019 There is a 70 percent chance of rain today, with temperatures expected to reach a high near 81 before falling tonight to around 66. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati weather: Storms may bring damaging winds, large hail," 5 June 2019

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

1560, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

History and Etymology for expect

Latin exspectare to look forward to, from ex- + spectare to look at, frequentative of specere to look — more at spy

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Statistics for expect

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expect

The first known use of expect was in 1560

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More Definitions for expect



English Language Learners Definition of expect

: to think that something will probably or certainly happen
: to think that (someone or something) will arrive or that (something) will happen
: to consider (something) to be reasonable, required, or necessary


ex·​pect | \ ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio) \
expected; expecting

Kids Definition of expect

1 : to think that something probably will be or happen They expect rain. Close up the motorcycle looked even better than he expected.— Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle
2 : to await the arrival of We're expecting guests.
3 : to consider to be obliged I expect you to pay your debts.
4 : to consider reasonable, due, or necessary I expect your attention.
ex·​pect | \ ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio) \

Medical Definition of expect

: to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child used in progressive tenses she's expecting next month

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More from Merriam-Webster on expect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expect

Spanish Central: Translation of expect

Nglish: Translation of expect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expect for Arabic Speakers

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