not expected; unforeseen; surprising: an unexpected pleasure; an unexpected development.

Origin of unexpected

First recorded in 1580–90; un-1 + expect + -ed2
Related formsun·ex·pect·ed·ly, adverbun·ex·pect·ed·ness, noun

Synonyms for unexpected

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unexpected

Contemporary Examples of unexpected

Historical Examples of unexpected

  • I might have paid them at the time, but it was all so unexpected and so sudden,—it rattled me, quite.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • This unexpected opposition excited the fierce resentment of the captain.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • No one was more surprised than Robert at the unexpected inheritance.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • It is curious to note the extent to which the unexpected has come about.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since

    Charles Francis Adams

  • Sallie Calkins was somewhat flurried by this unexpected call.

British Dictionary definitions for unexpected



surprising or unforeseen
Derived Formsunexpectedly, adverbunexpectedness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for unexpected

1580s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of expect. Related: Unexpectedly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper