expect

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
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
expectable adjective
expectably 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This year, Vargas is expected to discuss countywide efforts to help flood victims after the region was hit with a series of back-to-back storms that have pummeled the region since Jan. 22. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Feb. 2024 Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, as the Power & Light District expects the event to sell out. Andrea Klick, Kansas City Star, 11 Feb. 2024 Defense, as expected, has been a focus for Williams in the Heat’s developmental system. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 11 Feb. 2024 On With The Game Changing New Wearable Apple Confirms Impressive MacBook Pro Special Offer The bottom line is transitions are difficult, but are to be expected in uncertain, turbulent times. Dede Henley, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 Evolved from the highly successful Vantage GTE, which scored no fewer than 52 class wins and 11 world titles since 2012, this GT3 is expected to be campaigned by as many as 30 global race teams by the end of this season. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 11 Feb. 2024 Germany's economy is lagging behind The country's gross domestic product shrank in 2023 and is expected to grow just 0.5% this year, the smallest increase among major economies. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 10 Feb. 2024 Trump is also expected to ask the Supreme Court as early as next week to overturn a federal appeals court’s rejection of his immunity claims. The Editors, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2024 The United States, China and Russia all are set to post stronger growth than initially expected, helping lift the global outlook, the fund said. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1560, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of expect was in 1560

Dictionary Entries Near expect

Cite this Entry

“Expect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expect. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

expect

verb
ex·​pect ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio)
1
: to believe that something will occur and wait for it to happen
expect rain
expect her home soon
2
: suppose sense 3, think
who do you expect will win?
3
a
: to consider reasonable, due, or necessary
expect an honest day's work
b
: to consider obligated
expected you to pay your debts
expectable adjective
Etymology

from Latin expectare, exspectare "to look forward to," from ex- "out, forth" and spectare "to watch, look at," derived from specere "to look, look at" — related to auspice, spectacle

Medical Definition

expect

intransitive verb
ex·​pect ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio)
: to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child
used in progressive tenses
she's expecting next month

More from Merriam-Webster on expect

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