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
4 archaic : await

intransitive verb

1 : to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child used in progressive tensesshe'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 Officials expect the last few open beds to be filled soon, after renovations were completed in September. Alejandro Serrano, SFChronicle.com, "‘A safe place to live’: Treasure Island beds help homeless in recovery to stay sober," 20 Nov. 2019 Analysts expect the number of electric vehicles for sale in the U.S. to grow from 16 currently to as many as 80 by 2022. Washington Post, "New SUVs and electric vehicles highlight L.A. Auto Show," 20 Nov. 2019 Industry experts expect interest rates to remain low as automakers sweeten deals to draw buyers and clear out old inventory toward the end of the year. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "New car sales plunge 10 percent in October," 20 Nov. 2019 Arizona Snowbowl officials expect to open the Grand Canyon Express chairlift Friday, providing access to four intermediate trails. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Ready to ski? Arizona Snowbowl, Sunrise Park Resort plan to open this weekend," 20 Nov. 2019 The Spurs expect to figure it out, and other coaches like Stevens do, too. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "As Spurs slide, old belief is put to the test," 19 Nov. 2019 Neither Amash nor Rooney expect a wave of Republican defections in the House to break in favor of impeachment. Robert P. Baird, The New Yorker, "The Public Stage of the House Impeachment Inquiry," 18 Nov. 2019 On average, leaders expect to invest between $1 million and $5 million in commercial properties within the zones with another $250,000 to $500,000 being set aside for eligible startups. Marco Santana, orlandosentinel.com, "New fund to connect real estate, startups in Orlando bolsters Trump’s 'opportunity zones’," 18 Nov. 2019 Little Women comes out on December 25; expect some of the actor’s best looks yet. Vogue, "Timothée Chalamet Is the Most Influential Man in Fashion," 18 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for expect

Time Traveler

The first known use of expect was in 1560

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Statistics for expect

Cite this Entry

“Expect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expect. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for expect


How to pronounce expect (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expect

Spanish Central: Translation of expect

Nglish: Translation of expect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on expect

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