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 expect (audio) \ adjective
expectably \ ik-​ˈspek-​tə-​blē How to pronounce expect (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 Staff will be administering Pfizer vaccines to people 16-years-old and up at Barber park, where Orange officials expect 1,000 doses to be distributed every day this week until 7 p.m. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando FEMA vaccine site reopens Monday after severe weather: report," 12 Apr. 2021 The survey indicates business leaders expect to see an increase in sales, profits, hiring and expenditures in the second quarter. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "State business leaders bullish on growth, survey shows," 12 Apr. 2021 The consequence is that tourists who go to Africa expect to see a pretty wilderness instead of a busy continent of 1.4 billion people. Emma Marris, The Atlantic, "The Wilderness in Nature Documentaries Is a Fantasyland," 12 Apr. 2021 The people inside the organization and locker room knew not to expect too much. Los Angeles Times, "Kobe Bryant’s 60-point final game, through the eyes of those who were there," 12 Apr. 2021 Most of the reciters maintain a crisp, cool demeanor, even when their Web sites lead one to expect something more uproarious. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Extremes of the MaerzMusik Festival," 12 Apr. 2021 Sunday kicks off a full week of what forecasters expect will be sunny days, but that doesn’t yet mean the temperatures are particularly mild. oregonlive, "Portland metro Sunday weather: Frosty morning, followed by a clear sunny day," 11 Apr. 2021 People rake their leaves and expect the city to pick them up. Byron Tate, Arkansas Online, "Storms have taken a toll on city's streets," 11 Apr. 2021 Agents say her son is in custody, ask for her address and say to expect another call. Anchorage Daily News, "The things migrants carried — and dropped — as they crossed the border," 11 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More about expect

Statistics for expect

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expect. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on expect

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