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 unexpectedly

Contemporary Examples of unexpectedly

Historical Examples of unexpectedly

  • There was another listener at the lecture who was unexpectedly present.

  • Then, unexpectedly, she bent her head against a chair-back and fell to silent crying.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "I wonder if you would like to do a very kind thing," he said unexpectedly.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Without any more talk, Hubert unexpectedly announced that he was going to Paris.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Mali-ya-bwana and, unexpectedly, a big Kavirondo of Kingozi's safari, volunteered.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for unexpectedly



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 unexpectedly



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper