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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Advertising revenue in esports is expected to increase from about $178 million this year to $213.8 million in 2020, eMarketer said. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, "A TV network for esports comes to L.A. and New York," 17 Sep. 2019 It is expected Jones will face additional charges in the coming days, Woods said. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Fla. Mom and Her 4 Slain Kids Were Allegedly in Dad's Van for Weeks as He Faces Murder Charges," 17 Sep. 2019 An aide on the House Intelligence Committee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, said that is expected to take place later this week. Anchorage Daily News, "Tehran rules out talks with U.S. as Trump steps back from directly blaming Iran," 17 Sep. 2019 The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said the final regulations are expected to result in a net reduction of about 26 percent to the oyster harvest. Brian Witte, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland relaxes initially proposed oyster harvest limits, aims for 26% reduction," 17 Sep. 2019 Samaria is expected to be arraigned Monday at Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester, Gallant said. BostonGlobe.com, "Arrest made after fatal Manchester, N.H., fight - The Boston Globe," 16 Sep. 2019 Lieder said the station is expected to break ground in mid-2021. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Cypress Creek Fire Department purchases land for new station," 16 Sep. 2019 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are expected to see dew points in the mid- to upper 60s, which will feel sticky, said Rogers. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fog expected to affect Monday morning commute; warmer, muggier weather on the way," 15 Sep. 2019 To maintain status and increase one’s position in the gang, members were expected to carry out violence on behalf of the enterprise,'' the indictment says. oregonlive, "Alleged gang member accused of ‘murder in aid of racketeering’ stemming from 2015 Portland killing," 13 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about expect

Statistics for expect

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for expect

The first known use of expect was in 1560

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up expect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speed up the process or progress of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!