un·​ex·​pect·​ed | \ ˌən-ik-ˈspek-təd How to pronounce unexpected (audio) \

Definition of unexpected

: not expected : unforeseen

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unexpected

unexpectedly adverb
unexpectedness noun

Examples of unexpected in a Sentence

an unexpected turn of events I'm sad that she's leaving, but it was not unexpected.
Recent Examples on the Web When Michigan State sacked King and recovered a fumble to set up a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter, the unexpected was now looking inevitable. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, 18 Sep. 2021 Selling point: The greatest 007 gadgets are all about the unexpected. Nick Romano, EW.com, 17 Sep. 2021 Expect the unexpected at Fat Nomads supper club, but don’t expect compromise on the boldness of the chefs’ cooking. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 What might be unexpected is the many different ways that taxes will be increased. Martin Shenkman, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 The show fuses traditional circus acts with new and unexpected mediums, featuring aerial acts, stunts, incredible displays of strength and balance, mystifying illusions and comedy. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 15 Sep. 2021 Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, is making waves in your social sector, but its current angle to the loving Moon invites positivity into your life, so there's not much to fear. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 15 Sep. 2021 Signs had been pointing to Beckham playing, so this a reminder to expect the unexpected in the NFL. Nate Ulrich, USA TODAY, 12 Sep. 2021 This is an unapologetically old-school view of how history is actually made, which posits certain individuals are able to ride the tide of human events and shape them in new and unexpected ways. Peter Bergen, CNN, 11 Sep. 2021

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

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About unexpected

Time Traveler for unexpected

Time Traveler

The first known use of unexpected was circa 1586

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near unexpected




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for unexpected

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unexpected.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unexpected. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unexpected



English Language Learners Definition of unexpected

: not expected


un·​ex·​pect·​ed | \ ˌən-ik-ˈspek-təd How to pronounce unexpected (audio) \

Kids Definition of unexpected

: not expected : unforeseen an unexpected visit

Other Words from unexpected

unexpectedly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on unexpected

Nglish: Translation of unexpected for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unexpected for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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