expect

verb

ex·​pect ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio)
expected; expecting; expects

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
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
expectable adjective
expectably 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

Example Sentences

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 But in October, the company finally ended the waitlist for the Steam Deck, meaning anyone can purchase one now and expect to receive it in one to two weeks. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 16 Mar. 2023 That amount, which city officials expect to rise roughly 4 percent every year, goes up as the city gets closer to paying off old debts accumulated by the redevelopment agency. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Mar. 2023 That key says a lot about what to expect from this version of VW's compact sedan too. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 15 Mar. 2023 There was no reason to expect the new plane to become a classic; dozens of new fighter and bomber designs appeared in the 1950s. Popular Mechanics, 14 Mar. 2023 Our boss had to call ProPublica’s founder to tell him not to expect this to happen every time ProPublica published a big investigation. Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, 14 Mar. 2023 The cast and creators have offered some clues about what to expect in The Last of Us season 2. Nick Romano, EW.com, 13 Mar. 2023 The study shows that a scale for atmospheric river intensity can be used to let people know what to expect when an atmospheric river is in the forecast, both in the U.S. and globally, according to the nonprofit scientific association AGU. Melissa Breyer, Treehugger, 12 Mar. 2023 Personnel-wise, Louisville’s had a lot of changes on their roster, so not quite sure what to expect from a tactical, technical point of view. oregonlive, 11 Mar. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Latin exspectare to look forward to, from ex- + spectare to look at, frequentative of specere to look — more at spy

First Known Use

1560, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of expect was in 1560

Dictionary Entries Near expect

Cite this Entry

“Expect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expect. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

expect

verb
ex·​pect ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio)
1
: to believe that something will occur and wait for it to happen
expect rain
expect her home soon
2
: suppose sense 3, think
who do you expect will win?
3
a
: to consider reasonable, due, or necessary
expect an honest day's work
b
: to consider obligated
expected you to pay your debts
expectable adjective
Etymology

from Latin expectare, exspectare "to look forward to," from ex- "out, forth" and spectare "to watch, look at," derived from specere "to look, look at" — related to auspice, spectacle

Medical Definition

expect

intransitive verb
ex·​pect ik-ˈspekt How to pronounce expect (audio)
: to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child
used in progressive tenses
she's expecting next month

More from Merriam-Webster on expect

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