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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for expect in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From Latin expectāre, infinitive form of exspectō (look out for, await, expect), from ex (out) + spectō (look at), frequentative of speciō (see).


  • IPA(key): /ɪkˈspɛkt/, /ɛkˈspɛkt/
  • Hyphenation: ex‧pect
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt


expect (third-person singular simple present expects, present participle expecting, simple past and past participle expected)

  1. To look for (mentally); to look forward to, as to something that is believed to be about to happen or come; to have a previous apprehension of, whether of good or evil; to look for with some confidence; to anticipate; -- often followed by an infinitive, sometimes by a clause (with, or without, that).
    I expect to receive wages.  I expect that the troops will be defeated.
  2. To consider obligatory or required.
  3. To consider reasonably due.
    You are expected to get the task done by the end of next week.
  4. (continuous aspect only, of a woman or couple) To be pregnant, to consider a baby due.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To wait for; to await.
    • (Can we date this quote by William Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?) (c.1564–1616):
      Let's in, and there expect their coming.
    • 1825, Walter Scott, The Talisman, A. and C. Black (1868), 24-25:
      The knight fixed his eyes on the opening with breathless anxiety, and continuing to kneel in the attitude of devotion which the place and scene required, expected the consequence of these preparations.
  6. (obsolete, intransitive) To wait; to stay.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sandys to this entry?)

Usage notesEdit

  • Expect is a mental act and has always a reference to the future, to some coming event; as a person expects to die, or he expects to survive. Think and believe have reference to the past and present, as well as to the future; as I think the mail has arrived; I believe he came home yesterday, that he is at home now. There is a not uncommon use of expect, which is a confusion of the two; as, I expect the mail has arrived; I expect he is at home. This misuse should be avoided. Await is a physical or moral act. We await that which, when it comes, will affect us personally. We expect what may, or may not, interest us personally. See anticipate.
  • This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further readingEdit