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.
  3. Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess: I expect that you are tired from the trip.
  4. to anticipate the birth of (one’s child): Paul and Sylvia expect their second very soon.


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

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

  1. to regard as probable or likely; anticipatehe expects to win
  2. to look forward to or be waiting forwe expect good news today
  3. to decide that (something) is requisite or necessary; requirethe boss expects us to work late today

v.1550s, “wait, defer action,” from Latin expectare/exspectare “await, look out for, desire, hope,” from ex- “thoroughly” (see ex-) + spectare “to look,” frequentative of specere “to look at” (see scope (n.1)). Figurative sense of “anticipate, look forward to” developed in Latin, attested in English from c.1600. Used since 1817 as a euphemism for “be pregnant.” Related: Expected; expecting. see when least expected.

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