verb (used with object), an·tic·i·pat·ed, an·tic·i·pat·ing.

  1. to realize beforehand; foretaste or foresee: to anticipate pleasure.
  2. to expect; look forward to; be sure of: to anticipate a favorable decision.
  3. to perform (an action) before another has had time to act.
  4. to answer (a question), obey (a command), or satisfy (a request) before it is made: He anticipated each of my orders.
  5. to nullify, prevent, or forestall by taking countermeasures in advance: to anticipate a military attack.
  6. to consider or mention before the proper time: to anticipate more difficult questions.
  7. to be before (another) in doing, thinking, achieving, etc.: Many modern inventions were anticipated by Leonardo da Vinci.
  8. Finance.
    1. to expend (funds) before they are legitimately available for use.
    2. to discharge (an obligation) before it is due.

verb (used without object), an·tic·i·pat·ed, an·tic·i·pat·ing.

  1. to think, speak, act, or feel an emotional response in advance.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. (may take a clause as object) to foresee and act in advance ofhe anticipated the fall in value by selling early
  2. to thwart by acting in advance of; forestallI anticipated his punch by moving out of reach
  3. (also intr) to mention (something) before its proper timedon’t anticipate the climax of the story
  4. (may take a clause as object) to regard as likely; expect; foreseehe anticipated that it would happen
  5. to make use of in advance of possessionhe anticipated his salary in buying a house
  6. to pay (a bill, etc) before it falls due
  7. to cause to happen soonerthe spread of nationalism anticipated the decline of the Empire

1530s, “to cause to happen sooner,” a back-formation from anticipation, or else from Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare “take (care of) ahead of time,” literally “taking into possession beforehand,” from ante “before” (see ante) + capere “to take” (see capable).

Later “to be aware of (something) coming at a future time” (1640s). Used in the sense of “expect, look forward to” since 1749, but anticipate has an element of “prepare for, forestall” that should prevent its being used as a synonym for expect. Related: Anticipated; anticipating.

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