Definition of expect in English:



  • 1 Regard (something) as likely to happen.

    ‘it's as well to expect the worst’
    [with object and infinitive] ‘the hearing is expected to last a week’
    [with clause] ‘one might expect that Hollywood would adjust its approach’
    • ‘For 2003, chip sales are expected to rise eight per cent to £7.9 billion.’
    • ‘World demand for energy is expected be about two thirds above current levels by 2030.’
    • ‘The firm expects a reduction of 10,000 this year, with about 4,000 of these being voluntary reductions.’
    • ‘A further 19 per cent growth is expected by the end of this year.’
    • ‘The death toll was widely expected to rise.’
    • ‘The decision, widely expected by economists, had little impact on the financial markets.’
    • ‘The firm expects this upward trend to continue as more companies increase space and headcount later this year to cope with expansion plans.’
    • ‘Traffic jams were expected because farmers were taking livestock with them.’
    • ‘However, revenues are expected to grow at over 100 per cent per annum for the next three years.’
    • ‘The company is expected to announce its next move in the next few days.’
    • ‘Farmers are now expecting prices to lift by an equivalent amount.’
    • ‘The firm expects interest rates to remain unchanged at least in the first half.’
    • ‘Analysts now expect 2001 sales to jump at least 70 %, to $736 million.’
    • ‘His optimism is based on record profits at banks and oil firms but he also expects the recovery in the stock markets to increase receipts, despite concerns over the US economy.’
    • ‘The red-hot temperatures are expected to send demand for water soaring.’
    • ‘At the same time, budget spending is expected to increase toward the end of the year.’
    • ‘Nearly half of all companies anticipated a drop in staffing levels, with just three, including two taxi firms, expecting an increase.’
    • ‘The best place to look for a new job is the financial industry with 63 per cent of firms expecting an increase in IT staff.’
    • ‘The firm expects total investment in these three countries this year to be around €500 million, or half the total mainland Europe spend.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the chances of a white Christmas in York looked less likely as showers were expected to stay on the west side of the country.’
    anticipate, await, look for, hope for, watch for, look forward to, look ahead to, have in prospect
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    1. 1.1Regard (someone) as likely to do or be something.
      [with object and infinitive] ‘they were not expecting him to continue’
      • ‘No one seriously expects us to win.’
      • ‘Everyone turned to her, expecting her to continue.’
      • ‘The Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green groups are expected to put forward budget proposals over the next two weeks.’
      • ‘I'm expecting him to turn back around and continue.’
      • ‘Mom doesn't say anything, she just waits like she expects me to continue, so I do.’
      • ‘It was pretty funny, but we didn't expect her to continue for too long, so we kept on going, walking along the road.’
      • ‘She looked to him, expecting him to say something, yet he continued to stare into space.’
      • ‘Highways experts were today expected to reveal firm plans for safety improvements to a Ryedale accident blackspot.’
      • ‘‘I doubt we will see that scoreline again, but we can enter the game free of pressure because no-one expects us to win,’ he said.’
      • ‘Dee expects him to continue to attend until the age limit of eighteen.’
      • ‘Once she had reached him, he expected her to wait for him, but she continued to walk past him.’
      • ‘Likely buyers were expected to be from America where the aircraft would earn its living in air shows.’
      • ‘It takes place in the middle of the school half-term break when families are expected to flock to the attraction.’
      • ‘I expect insurers and other firms to preserve their profit margins at all costs.’
      • ‘What happens when everyone expects you to forgive?’
      • ‘The lady of the middle-class house wasn't expected to break into a sweat.’
      • ‘Whatever happens, she is not expected to live beyond a further year and is likely to succumb to a respiratory infection this winter.’
      • ‘He looked at me as if I had gone insane, having expected me to tell him to shove off, most likely.’
      • ‘Members of the corporate services board are expected to ratify the budget at a meeting later today.’
      • ‘Everybody expects me to continue on, business as usual.’
      suppose, presume, think it likely, think, believe, imagine, assume, conjecture, surmise, calculate, judge
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    2. 1.2Believe that (someone or something) will arrive soon.
      ‘Celia was expecting a visitor’
      • ‘David Cuddy did announce his intention to cease inter county hurling this year but he is expected back very soon.’
      • ‘Your mother is most likely expecting you for some family activity.’
      • ‘We expect him home soon and we feel sure he will make a good recovery.’
      • ‘We were told we had to wait for a short while, as they were expecting other couples, soon.’
      • ‘The station is expecting another fuel delivery tomorrow, and stocks are expected to last until then.’
      • ‘The next day we were expecting a visit from my cousin Bryan from Calgary.’
      • ‘Holly was expecting her friend Natalie and brother Oliver was expecting his friend Ryan.’
      • ‘That monastery he talks about shouldn't expect him any time soon.’
    3. 1.3Require (something) as rightfully due or appropriate in the circumstances.
      ‘we expect great things of you’
      • ‘When is it appropriate to begin expecting mature judgments from children?’
      • ‘We just expected the blood to be there for the transfusions he required during the operation.’
      • ‘Expanding student numbers has merely led to a needless inflation of what employers expect from applicants.’
      • ‘Most of us switch the system on and off as we require; we expect lots of heat and hot water 365 days a year.’
      • ‘We went in 2003 and were pretty damned impressed, so we were expecting great things this year.’
      • ‘At the very least, I expect the toys we buy should work straight out of the package.’
      • ‘If it isn't, training is stopped and they are firmly reminded what I expect from them.’
      • ‘The company's customers in India are getting more demanding, and expect service from India, he said.’
      • ‘Frankly, I expected better from a publication of the Sunday Herald's standing.’
      • ‘But really, I might expect better of someone with a 4.0 GPA.’
      • ‘Yet, it demands motivation and expects honesty on the part of students, leading those who are suspicious to doubt the entire enterprise.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter who you are, I try to treat people the same way and I expect the same back.’
      • ‘The band could get away with it 30 years ago, but today's demanding listener expects a bit more.’
      • ‘I know it sounds like a very low brow thing to say, but I expect a bit more action from my spy genre!’
      • ‘He had a bit of a go at me and that's only fair because he expects a lot better from me and I expect a lot better from myself.’
      • ‘I had to make sure the end result was appealing as people paying premium rents expect nothing but the best.’
      • ‘Society requires and expects protection from drunken drivers, speeding drivers and dangerous drivers.’
      • ‘Maybe I expect too much, but I only say what I feel because I think it is right to do so.’
      • ‘The courts expect appropriate arrangements to be in place to ensure that police notes are properly preserved.’
      • ‘On bad days I expect heaps of sympathy and whinge incessantly in the vain hope that it will be forthcoming.’
      require, ask for, call for, look for, wish, want, hope for
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    4. 1.4Require (someone) to fulfil an obligation.
      [with object and infinitive] ‘we expect employers to pay a reasonable salary’
      • ‘They now expect me to pay the arrears I owe them through their inept management of resources.’
      • ‘When a parent dies, older children may be expected to take up paid employment and care for younger siblings.’
      • ‘I soon realised I was expected to be a role model, mentor and support the children.’
      • ‘Employers don't expect you to know everything, but they do assume you are willing to learn.’
      • ‘The notice outlines roughly the requirements that prospective buyers are expected to meet.’
      • ‘We are expected to pay by a certain date even though the development will not be completed.’
      • ‘Right from the start, the aging mother, Mag, is demanding, and expects her daughter to wait on her hand and foot.’
      • ‘Business expects people to work as and when required.’
      • ‘As a tenant, you are expected to pay your rent on time and respect your neighbours who live around your property.’
      • ‘Bishops in England were likewise expected to fulfil a pastoral role.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that employers expect you to have some sense of what you want to do in terms of career goals.’
      • ‘On the day of her departure, she found that she was expected to pay the resort bill, and had no money to do so.’
      • ‘So why should I be expected to pay towards someone's studies to become a very well-paid lawyer or doctor?’
      • ‘People do not pay taxes but expect us to provide them with facilities.’
      • ‘Students expect to be challenged today and firms expect their students to work at a much higher level than in the past.’
      • ‘If you do not have the right to vote, why then, should you be expected to pay taxes.’
      • ‘Among its minimum requirements, the organization expects approved programs to employ two qualified liver transplant surgeons.’
      • ‘Sheffield Council said staff were expected to be appropriate and professional, but no list was implemented.’
      • ‘Whatever the increase is, and however it is conveyed to us, we are still expected to pay a well above inflation increase.’
      • ‘There will also be key objectives aimed at reducing congestion, which any bidder will be expected to fulfil.’
    5. 1.5informal Used to indicate that one supposes something to be so but has no firm evidence.
      ‘they're just friends of his, I expect’
      [with clause] ‘I expect you know them?’
      • ‘There will be good and bad days, but I expect the rehab will be just as tough.’
      • ‘The first has so many tracks I expect they're old recordings of obscure performers.’
      • ‘Whether it is a leadership academy or whatever, is a matter for others to decide, I expect.’
      • ‘I expect he's too busy at the moment to be opening supermarkets in Didcot.’
      • ‘This is not what I went to uni for, albeit I expect next year will be much harder.’
      • ‘I am fed up with your council rubbish and propaganda and I expect a lot of other people are as well.’
      • ‘In the main, I expect most of these arrive and leave around the morning and evening rush hour.’
      • ‘In fact since her original words make her look silly I expect she was anxious to have the quote changed.’
      • ‘That'd be a large downwards arrow for the benefit of the whining Wolves fans, I expect.’
      • ‘The other clipped two have disappeared to a nesting site further along the canal, I expect.’
      i assume, i expect, i believe, i presume, i take it, i suppose, i imagine, i dare say, i would have thought, it is to be presumed, i guess, in all probability, probably, in all likelihood, all things being equal, all things considered, as like as not, as likely as not, doubtless, undoubtedly, no doubt, without doubt
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  • be expecting (a baby)

    • informal Be pregnant.

      ‘his wife was expecting again’
      • ‘It is even more distressing when we are expecting our third child soon.’
      • ‘He praised the young couple for their serious commitment, counselled them through a miscarriage and, at their wedding one year later, joyfully announced during the ceremony that they were expecting a baby.’
      • ‘I'm trying to get back into jogging but my wife Emma is expecting a baby in August - so I expect to be rather more occupied with that.’
      • ‘It is understood that the woman was told during her pregnancy that she was expecting twins.’
      • ‘The couple announced they were expecting a baby in November last year, when Louise was four months pregnant.’
      • ‘A couple got a little more than they bargained for when they found they were expecting triplets’
      • ‘We also had our own private joy as we had just learned that we were expecting our fifth child, Kian.’
      • ‘The couple recently married, and are expecting their first baby soon.’
      • ‘The media-shy couple, who were fiercely tight-lipped about their year-long romance, broke the news they were expecting a baby shortly before they wed.’
      • ‘The pair said they were overjoyed when they announced they were expecting their first baby earlier this month.’
      pregnant, expecting a baby, having a baby, having a child, carrying a child
      in the family way, expecting a happy event, eating for two, preggers, preggy, with a bun in the oven, with one in the oven
      in the club, in the pudding club, up the duff, up the spout, up the stick
      knocked up
      preggo, clucky
      in trouble, in pod
      gravid, parturient
      with child, big with child, heavy with child, in a delicate condition, in an interesting condition, childing, on the way
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  • (only) to be expected

    • Completely normal.

      ‘he had a few lines about the eyes, but at forty-seven that was only to be expected’
      • ‘I mean, we had some great shows, and a whole lot of bad ones, but that's to be expected.’
      • ‘The picture's slightly grainy, but that's only to be expected with a film this old.’
      • ‘Both sides made mistakes, but that is only to be expected as teams return from the winter break.’
      • ‘It is to be expected that effective patriots are rarely popular outside their homelands.’
      • ‘As was to be expected in the conditions time and time again they lost the ball or played to an opponent.’
      • ‘As is to be expected at this level, no one boat is absolutely excelling and on-the-water rivalry is fierce.’
      • ‘I awoke with a mild hangover from a fun night: that much was to be expected.’
      • ‘Sadly - as is only to be expected, I suppose - the city council is taking the same line.’
      • ‘A few sore throats a year are to be expected, but getting more than two suggests you ought to be having it looked into.’
      • ‘There was a bit of snapping at each other, but that is to be expected.’
      unsurprising, expected, to be expected, predictable, foreseeable, inevitable
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  • what can (or do) you expect?

    • Used to emphasize that there was nothing unexpected about a person or event, however disappointed one might be.

      ‘What do you expect? He was just like all the others, only you were too thick to see it’
      • ‘The Doctor said ‘Well if you take class A drugs what do you expect?’’
      • ‘Ever since the 1980s and the rise of the yuppie we've heard the refrain that ‘they see all this wealth on the TV which they haven't got - what do you expect?’’
      • ‘She just lost her child, Eric, what do you expect?’
      • ‘But if the investment is not there, the engineers are not there, the equipment purchased is not up to scratch, then what do you expect?’
      • ‘Well, you're their little girl, what do you expect?’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘defer action, wait’): from Latin exspectare look out for, from ex- out + spectare to look (frequentative of specere see).