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 don’t expect the Panthers to go away from the run anytime soon, especially with Darnold just getting his feet wet. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 27 Nov. 2022 Don’t expect Satterfield’s struggles versus the Wildcats will escape the attention of the Cardinals’ fan base. Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 26 Nov. 2022 Of course, e-sports investors did not expect the industry to supplant traditional sports in just a few years. Kellen Browning, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2022 The Spartans don’t expect the senior will need surgery to recover. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 25 Nov. 2022 Just don’t expect any big Black Friday deals from Apple on its newest iPhones. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 Nov. 2022 Of course, don’t expect any of that to happen in six weeks, or after six weeks unless Republicans in the House cooperate in the mission, or unless the Senate can somehow take up the game. Edward J. Mccaffery, CNN, 24 Nov. 2022 Still, tanker operators don’t expect to use their current windfall to order new vessels. David Uberti, WSJ, 23 Nov. 2022 Since Netflix only tweeted the news on November 7 that the show had been greenlit for new episodes, viewers shouldn't expect to see season 2 anytime soon. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 23 Nov. 2022 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 1 Dec. 2022.

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

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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