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[ik-spekt] /ɪkˈspɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of:
I expect to read it. I expect him later. She expects that they will come.
to look for with reason or justification:
We expect obedience.
Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess:
I expect that you are tired from the trip.
to anticipate the birth of (one's child):
Paul and Sylvia expect their second very soon.
be expecting, to be pregnant:
The cat is expecting again.
Origin of expect
1550-60; < Latin ex(s)pectāre to look out for, await, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + spectāre to look at, frequentative of specere; see spectacle
Related forms
expectable, adjective
expectably, adverb
expectedly, adverb
expectedness, noun
expecter, noun
expectingly, adverb
overexpect, verb
preexpect, verb (used with object)
unexpectable, adjective
unexpectably, adverb
unexpecting, adjective
unexpectingly, adverb
1. Expect, anticipate, hope, await all imply looking to some future event. Expect implies confidently believing, usually for good reasons, that an event will occur: to expect a visit from a friend. Anticipate is to look forward to an event and even to picture it: Do you anticipate trouble? Hope implies a wish that an event may take place and an expectation that it will: to hope for the best. Await (wait for ) implies being alert and ready, whether for good or evil: to await news after a cyclone.
Usage note
3. This sense of expect (I expect you went with them. I expect you want to leave now.) is encountered in the speech of educated people but seldom in their writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for expects
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I dont know where she expects to find her talent, sniffed Agnes.

  • It will be dreadful, of course, but then, no one ever expects them to be otherwise.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • And Jane is too much of a thoroughbred to show him she expects it.

    Danny's Own Story Don Marquis
  • It is a breach of the respect which one expects, that is, it wounds vanity.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • "He expects you to give him your heart," said her ladyship, slowly.

    Castle Craneycrow George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for expects


verb (transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive)
to regard as probable or likely; anticipate: he expects to win
to look forward to or be waiting for: we expect good news today
to decide that (something) is requisite or necessary; require: the boss expects us to work late today
See also expecting
Derived Forms
expectable, adjective
expectably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin exspectāre to watch for, from spectāre to look at
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expects



1550s, "wait, defer action," from Latin expectare/exspectare "await, look out for, desire, hope," from ex- "thoroughly" (see ex-) + spectare "to look," frequentative of specere "to look at" (see scope (n.1)).

Figurative sense of "anticipate, look forward to" developed in Latin, attested in English from c.1600. Used since 1817 as a euphemism for "be pregnant." Related: Expected; expecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with expects


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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