Definition of expectation in US English:



  • 1A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

    ‘reality had not lived up to expectations’
    ‘an expectation that the government will provide the resources’
    ‘he drilled his men in expectation of a Prussian advance’
    • ‘Most Australians have grown up with an expectation that a hard day's work will reap its rewards.’
    • ‘There was an expectation that interest rates might go down, but certainly not up.’
    • ‘With this belief comes the expectation that a booming economy will beget social progress.’
    • ‘Simply to build as many houses as possible in the expectation that prices will fall significantly in the near future will not solve the problem.’
    • ‘As a result, most have insured against compensation claims in the expectation that legal problems will become more frequent.’
    • ‘On the New Year, many people wear new outfits with the expectation that the coming year will bring them prosperity.’
    • ‘It is our expectation that the government will increase tuition fees.’
    • ‘A homeowner who plants a mango tree does so with the expectation that mangoes will be reaped.’
    • ‘Worse still is the expectation that conditions are certain to deteriorate in the coming weeks.’
    • ‘There is an expectation that parents will not be able to cope without external support from a raft of experts and professionals.’
    • ‘The judge said none of the detainees had a reasonable expectation of privacy during the tribunals.’
    • ‘To date it has announced that 1,600 jobs are to be axed but there is an expectation that more will follow.’
    • ‘They may simply sit tight in the expectation that the club's growth will continue and the value of their stake will rise further.’
    • ‘There is an expectation that there will be a reduction in staff numbers in the UK.’
    • ‘You sit down and have an expectation that you are going to receive good visual information.’
    • ‘This created an expectation that the war would be long, ferocious and severe.’
    • ‘We tend to pay our taxes in the expectation that it will be utilized for the betterment of the world we live in.’
    • ‘Why should the police have a higher expectation of privacy than anyone else?’
    • ‘Investors also sold shares in the expectation that demand for steel may slow in line with falling auto production.’
    • ‘Society gives you the expectation that once your children have left home, it's ‘your time’.’
    supposition, assumption, belief, presupposition, presumption, conjecture, surmise, reckoning, calculation, prediction, forecast, projection
    anticipation, expectancy, eagerness, hope, hopefulness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A belief that someone will or should achieve something.
      ‘students had high expectations for their future’
      • ‘He couldn't have lived up to the expectation that has been thrust upon him.’
      • ‘In fact, the low expectations for the president could even turn out to be a hidden advantage.’
      • ‘The changing status of women has given them greater confidence, higher expectations and new ways of being.’
      • ‘But initially the shock of defeat was at least partly compensated by the newly awakened great expectations for the future.’
      • ‘This is an expectation that few people can be expected to live up to.’
      • ‘At this stage, feelings of acute vulnerability may alternate with great expectations of success.’
      • ‘The weaker pupils, in particular, did their best to achieve his expectation of them.’
      • ‘Parents' expectations for their high school children's science performance were also compared among the three cultural groups.’
      • ‘Yet the longer they spend in education, it seems, the lower people's expectations of these students seems to fall.’
      • ‘High expectations are set for student learning, whether in classrooms or other learning contexts.’
      • ‘I think we have really surpassed even our own expectations in this regard.’
      • ‘There are major problems with this approach, in terms of what it says about our low expectations of children.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, our low expectations of him have been confounded by his strong leadership’
      • ‘When you set a world record at the age of only 12, expectations for the future become correspondingly high.’
      • ‘Equally they can look forward to the future with confidence and high expectations.’
      • ‘He has lived up to lofty expectations.’
      • ‘They have exceeded all expectations and have achieved a level of perfection rarely seen before.’
      • ‘In addition, it may exacerbate already powerful societal pressures on children to fulfill unrealistic parental expectations.’
      • ‘Politicians have most of our aspirations pinned on them, with low expectations they will deliver.’
      • ‘It just means that he got a shot at leading and didn't fulfill the expectation that you had for him.’
      supposition, assumption, belief, presupposition, presumption, conjecture, surmise, reckoning, calculation, prediction, forecast, projection
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2expectationsarchaic One's prospects of inheritance.
      • ‘Then you must know that I have a devilish rich uncle in the East Indies, Sir Oliver Surface, from whom I have the greatest expectations.’
      • ‘O yes: I have what are called expectations!’
      • ‘It's insanity to worry about some heir's expectations.’
      • ‘The book will help anyone with ‘expectations’, modest or exceptional, avoid potential pitfalls.’
      • ‘Adopting the language of restitution leads to the return of unjust enrichment, while estoppel enables the son to receive his expectations.’
      prospects, prospects of inheritance, hopes, outlook, lookout
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Mathematics
      another term for expected value
      • ‘The mathematical expectation of any bet is defined as follows: the sum of all possible gains and losses multiplied by their relative probabilities.’
      • ‘This is equal to 8.5, and is called the expectation of the action in question.’
      • ‘The same expectation is obtained by either method.’
      • ‘This is one of the fundamental reasons why ‘staking systems’ don't work: a series of negative expectation bets must have negative expectation.’


  • manage expectations

    • Seek to prevent disappointment by establishing in advance what can realistically be achieved or delivered by a project, undertaking, course of action, etc.

      ‘as the White House tries to paint a rosy economic picture, they are also trying to manage expectations’
      ‘the company needs to be very sure it has a hit or it should start managing its customers' expectations’
      • ‘After two or three iterations, his subordinates just started managing his expectations with wildly outsized guesses about project requirements, and outright lies about what they'd accomplished.’
      • ‘Part of today, though, was about managing expectations, and he also made it clear he's not the president yet.’
      • ‘As I'm a good project manager, I feel it is my duty to manage your expectations.’
      • ‘Training and managing expectations are critical to the success and rate of adoption of any innovation or workplace change.’
      • ‘There will always be people upset, but this is about managing expectations as much as we can.’
      • ‘I hope my keep-it-simple approach makes it's clear where I'm coming from and manages expectations appropriately.’
      • ‘So manage your expectations appropriately.’
      • ‘We have to manage our expectations and be realistic.’
      • ‘We need to manage our expectations so we don't declare failure too soon.’
      • ‘During the meeting, I worked to point out places where the customer's complaints were caused by the inability to properly set up and manage customer expectations.’
      • ‘In any event, communication is the key for delivering and managing expectations for this type of plan in France.’
      • ‘However, intermediaries have an important role to play in managing the expectations of their clients.’
      • ‘Clearly I should learn to manage my expectations a little better.’
      • ‘I think the lesson to be learned in the NFL this season is manage your expectations.’
      • ‘Even economists who have long predicted a soft landing are suggesting that we manage our expectations.’
      • ‘Managing the expectations of your customers, employees, suppliers, and subcontractors is something of an art, but the basic technique involves being as explicit as possible as often as possible.’
      • ‘And that's the real work Apple has on its hands: managing expectations.’