View synonyms for expect


[ ik-spekt ]

verb (used with object)

  1. 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.

  2. to look for with reason or justification:

    We expect obedience.

  3. Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess:

    I expect that you are tired from the trip.

  4. to anticipate the birth of (one's child):

    Paul and Sylvia expect their second very soon.


/ ɪkˈspɛkt /


  1. to regard as probable or likely; anticipate

    he expects to win

  2. to look forward to or be waiting for

    we expect good news today

  3. to decide that (something) is requisite or necessary; require

    the boss expects us to work late today

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Usage Note

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.

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Derived Forms

  • exˈpectable, adjective
  • exˈpectably, adverb

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Other Words From

  • ex·pecta·ble adjective
  • ex·pecta·bly adverb
  • ex·pected·ly adverb
  • ex·pected·ness noun
  • ex·pecter noun
  • ex·pecting·ly adverb
  • over·ex·pect verb
  • preex·pect verb (used with object)
  • unex·pecta·ble adjective
  • unex·pecta·bly adverb
  • unex·pecting adjective
  • unex·pecting·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of expect1

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin ex(s)pectāre “to look out for, await,” equivalent to ex- ex- 1 + spectāre “to look at,” frequentative of specere; spectacle

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Word History and Origins

Origin of expect1

C16: from Latin exspectāre to watch for, from spectāre to look at

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. be expecting, to be pregnant:

    The cat is expecting again.

More idioms and phrases containing expect

see when least expected .

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Example Sentences

Lawmakers are expected to be in Washington until the start of October, after which they are scheduled to return to their home districts for the last weeks of the campaign season.

She is expected to continue in her role next year, if Democrats retain control the House.

Biden’s team is going after a population that is generally more averse to in-person interactions and more of his supporters are expected to cast ballots over the next month, either by mail or through early voting.

Even in states that haven’t made absentee voting easier, the number of ballot requests is still expected to spike.

Redfield told the panel he expected a vaccine to start being available in November or December.

The resources were what you might expect: Dining room, a media center, a library, a TV room, a meeting room, a computer room.

Plus, expect outside players to take actions related to the conflict.

The relationships, and motivations of their chief participants, are as tangled and shady as you expect of the super-rich.

You expect soldiers of all ranks to understand the need to respect the chain of command, regardless of personal feelings.

The name that most Republicans seem both to expect and dread to consider running is Vito Fossella.

You speak with about as little reflection as we might expect from one of those children down there playing in the sand.

Why expect that extraordinary virtues should be in one person united, when one virtue makes a man extraordinary?

Or, if I escaped these dangers for a day or two, what could I expect but a miserable death of cold and hunger?

He wrote a letter to Sir Hugh Wheeler warning the gallant old general that he might expect to be attacked forthwith.

I did not find the Aristocracy so remarkable for physical perfection and beauty as I had been taught to expect.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say expect?

To expect something is to look forward to it or to regard it as likely to happen. How is expect different from anticipate, hope, and await? Learn more on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.