[ ik-spekt ]
See synonyms for: expectexpectedexpectingexpects on Thesaurus.com

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.

  1. Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess: I expect that you are tired from the trip.

  2. to anticipate the birth of (one's child): Paul and Sylvia expect their second very soon.

Idioms about expect

  1. be expecting, to be pregnant: The cat is expecting again.

Origin of expect

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; see spectacle

usage note For expect

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.

Other words from expect

  • 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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use expect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expect


/ (ɪkˈspɛkt) /

verb(tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive)
  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

  1. to decide that (something) is requisite or necessary; require: the boss expects us to work late today

Origin of expect

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

Derived forms of expect

  • expectable, adjective
  • expectably, adverb

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with expect


see when least expected.

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