an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Essential Meaning of anticipate

1 : to think of (something that will or might happen in the future) : expect The cost turned out to be higher than anticipated. They do not anticipate [=foresee] any major problems during construction. See More ExamplesThe hotel anticipated my every need. [=I didn't have to ask for anything because they already provided it] The author anticipated objections to his theory. The organizers of the fair anticipate a large crowd. I did not anticipate having to pay for your ticket. The boxer tried to anticipate [=predict] his opponent's next move.Hide
2 : to expect or look ahead to (something) with pleasure : to look forward to (something) He eagerly anticipated her arrival.
3 formal : to do something before someone else His use of composition anticipated later Renaissance paintings. = He anticipated later Renaissance painters in his use of composition.

Full Definition of anticipate

transitive verb

1 : to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to
2 : to meet (an obligation) before a due date
3 : to foresee and deal with in advance : forestall
4 : to use or expend in advance of actual possession
5 : to act before (another) often so as to check or counter
6 : to look forward to as certain : expect We don't anticipate any problems during the construction.

intransitive verb

: to speak or write in knowledge or expectation of later matter

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Other Words from anticipate

anticipatable \ an-​ˈti-​sə-​ˌpā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \ adjective
anticipator \ an-​ˈti-​sə-​ˌpā-​tər How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for anticipate


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foresee, foreknow, divine, anticipate mean to know beforehand. foresee implies nothing about how the knowledge is derived and may apply to ordinary reasoning and experience. economists should have foreseen the recession foreknow usually implies supernatural assistance, as through revelation. if only we could foreknow our own destinies divine adds to foresee the suggestion of exceptional wisdom or discernment. was able to divine Europe's rapid recovery from the war anticipate implies taking action about or responding emotionally to something before it happens. the waiter anticipated our every need

prevent, anticipate, forestall mean to deal with beforehand. prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable. measures taken to prevent leaks anticipate may imply merely getting ahead of another by being a precursor or forerunner or it may imply checking another's intention by acting first. anticipated the question by making a statement forestall implies a getting ahead so as to stop or interrupt something in its course. hoped to forestall the sale

Examples of anticipate in a Sentence

The cost turned out to be higher than anticipated. The author anticipated objections to his theory. The organizers of the fair anticipate a large crowd. I did not anticipate having to pay for your ticket. He eagerly anticipated her arrival.
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Recent Examples on the Web Having traded cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers on Oct. 6, the Patriots can now anticipate seeing the 31-year-old on the schedule when New England faces Carolina in Week 9., 11 Oct. 2021 To take on a healthy amount of skepticism, the industry should anticipate Google to only do what’s necessary to evade an anti-trust action by European governments. Sergii Denysenko, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Both airports anticipate seeing more than twice as many people over the holiday weekend as last year, the Aviation Department said. Lauren Zumbach,, 3 Sep. 2021 Fans can anticipate three more Season 1 cameos from T’Challa in episodes 5, 8 and 9. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2021 After play-action, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins launched it but didn’t anticipate Williams tracking Thielen from across the field. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 3 Oct. 2021 But the people inside those companies are recognizing that this company doesn't anticipate consequences, and then tries to clean it up later, and then not very well. NBC News, 3 Oct. 2021 But a Customs and Border Protection official told CNN the administration didn't anticipate the pace at which people would arrive, some of whom had been moving by bus instead of walking. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 24 Sep. 2021 But the player was about to ascend in ways that Meier did not anticipate. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, 22 Sep. 2021

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

1532, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for anticipate

Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare, from ante- + -cipare (from capere to take) — more at heave entry 1

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Time Traveler for anticipate

Time Traveler

The first known use of anticipate was in 1532

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anticipate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for anticipate


an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Kids Definition of anticipate

1 : to foresee and deal with or provide for beforehand The waiters anticipate your every wish.
2 : to look forward to … now everyone anticipated the celebration.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising


an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈtis-ə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Medical Definition of anticipate

transitive verb

: to give advance thought to

intransitive verb

: to come before the expected time used especially of medical symptoms


transitive verb
an·​tic·​i·​pate | \ an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce anticipate (audio) \
anticipated; anticipating

Legal Definition of anticipate

1 : to bar or invalidate (a patent) by anticipation the patent on the compound had been anticipated by the Beilstein referenceMisani v. Ortho Pharm. Corp., 210 A.2d 609 (1965)
2 : to negate the novelty of (an invention) by its appearance in prior art appeared to have anticipated a variable light makeup mirrorWilson v. Bristol-Myers Co., 503 N.Y.S.2d 334 (1986)

More from Merriam-Webster on anticipate

Nglish: Translation of anticipate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anticipate for Arabic Speakers


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