Meaning of EXPECT in English


1. to expect something

2. what you say when you expect something to happen

3. to do something because you expect something to happen

4. to make someone expect something

5. expecting something good to happen

6. expecting something bad to happen

7. when things happens in the way you expected

8. when something happens that you did not expect

9. when someone or something is expected


when something happens before you expect it to : ↑ READY/NOT READY

wait for something to happen : ↑ WAIT

see also




1. to expect something

▷ expect /ɪkˈspekt/ [transitive verb]

if you expect something to happen, you think it probably will :

▪ I’m expecting a fax from Korea. Has anything arrived yet?

▪ Drivers should expect long delays on all roads out of town today.

expect to do something

▪ I expected to find him in the bar, but he wasn’t there.

expect (that)

▪ We all expected she’d get the job - it was a real shock when she didn’t.

expect somebody/something to do something

▪ Economists expect the economy to grow by 5% next year.

fully expect

confidently expect that something will definitely happen

▪ Perkins fully expects to be back in Boston by July 1.

▷ think /θɪŋk/ [transitive verb not in progressive]

to believe that something is likely to happen :

think (that)

▪ Do you think they’ll come to the party?

▪ I never thought her business would be so successful.

think something is likely

▪ The builders said the job would be finished tomorrow, but I don’t think that’s likely.

▷ anticipate /ænˈtɪsɪpeɪt, ænˈtɪsəpeɪt/ [transitive verb]

to expect that something will happen, and be prepared for it - use this especially to say that something was different from what you had expected :

▪ The journey took a lot longer than we had anticipated.

anticipate that

▪ We had anticipated that interest rates would have fallen further by now.

anticipate doing something

▪ I think we’ve fixed everything, and I don’t anticipate finding any more problems.

anticipation /ænˌtɪsɪˈpeɪʃ ə n, ænˌtɪsəˈpeɪʃ ə n/ [uncountable noun]

▪ They started off on the trip with a sense of nervous anticipation.

2. what you say when you expect something to happen

▷ I expect /aɪ ɪkˈspekt/ especially British /I guess /aɪ ˈges/ especially American :

▪ Hasn’t Tony arrived yet? He’ll be here soon, I expect.

I expect (that)

▪ I expect your mother will be overjoyed when she hears you’re having a baby.

I expect/guess so

▪ ‘Is Alan going to drive tonight?’ ‘Yeah, I guess so.’

▷ I bet/my bet is /aɪ ˈbet, maɪ ˈbet ɪz/ informal

use this to introduce something that you expect to happen because of what you know about someone or about the way things usually happen. I bet is more common than my bet is :

I bet/my bet is (that)

▪ I bet you’ll miss your boyfriend when you go away for college.

▪ Sandra says she’s never going to have any children, but my bet is she has at least three.

▷ I suspect /aɪ səˈspekt/

use this when you have a feeling that something is going to happen, especially something bad or unpleasant :

▪ You’ll find Rick’s parents rather hard to talk to, I suspect.

I suspect (that)

▪ I suspect that 10 years after the book is published, nobody will even remember the name of the author.

▷ I would think especially British also I should think British /aɪ wʊd ˈθɪŋk, aɪ ʃʊd ˈθɪŋk/

use this when you think something is likely to happen although you are not really sure :

▪ It’ll be cooler down by the lake, I would think.

I would think (that)

▪ I should think Sarah and Greg will be going to the party.

I would/should think so

▪ ‘Will you have finished work by 6.30?’ ‘Oh yes, I should think so.’

▷ I wouldn’t be surprised /aɪ ˌwʊdnt biː səʳˈpraɪzd/

say this when you think something may happen, even though other people think it is unlikely :

▪ ‘Do you think they’ll get married?’ ‘I wouldn’t be surprised.’

I wouldn’t be surprised if

▪ You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the top executives lose their jobs.

▷ my expectation is /maɪ ˌekspekˈteɪʃ ə n ɪz/ formal

use this to introduce something that you expect to happen because of information that you have :

▪ My expectation is that the two companies will eventually come to an agreement.

3. to do something because you expect something to happen

▷ figure on/reckon on /ˈfɪgər ɒnǁˈfɪgjər-, ˈrekən ɒnǁɑːn, ɒːn/ [transitive phrasal verb not in passive] especially spoken

to expect something to happen, so that you make plans or take actions that depend on it happening :

▪ We had expected it to take about an hour to get home, but we hadn’t reckoned on the traffic.

reckon/figure on doing something

▪ Visitors to the city should figure on spending about $150 a day for food and lodging.

reckon/figure on somebody doing something

▪ We can reckon on about 100 people coming to the meeting.

▷ count on /ˈkaʊnt ɒn/ [transitive phrasal verb]

to expect something so much that your plans depend on it happening or you are completely prepared for it when it happens :

▪ We’re counting on good weather for the picnic - if it rains, we’ll have to cancel.

count on doing something

▪ The automaker is planning on earning large profits with this new model.

count on somebody doing something

▪ Don’t count on Congress passing the bill anytime soon.

▷ in expectation/anticipation of /ɪn ˌekspekˈteɪʃ ə n, ænˌtɪsə̇ˈpeɪʃ ə n ɒv/ [preposition] especially written

if you make plans or take actions in expectation or anticipation of something happening, you do this because you expect it to happen and you want to be prepared :

▪ The workers have called off their strike in expectation of a pay settlement.

▪ Residents are buying supplies and stacking wood in anticipation of the coming storms.

▷ don’t count your chickens (before they’re hatched) /ˌdaʊnty kaʊnt jɔːʳ ˌtʃɪkə̇nz (bɪˌfɔːʳ deəʳ ˈhætʃt/

use this to tell someone not to be too sure that what they are hoping for will happen :

▪ If you want to go on a date sometime, you can ask me. But don’t count your chickens.

▪ Getting an Oscar would be wonderful, but I think it’s too early to count my chickens.

4. to make someone expect something

▷ lead somebody to expect /ˌliːd somebody tʊ ɪkˈspekt/ [verb phrase]

to encourage someone to expect something, especially something that does not actually happen :

▪ The hotel was horrible - not at all what we’d been led to expect.

▪ I think his campaign promises led us all to expect he’d be a much more honest politician.

▷ raise/arouse expectations /ˌreɪz, əˌraʊz ekspekˈteɪʃ ə nz/ [verb phrase]

if something that someone says raises or arouses expectations, it makes people begin to expect something good or interesting :

▪ A good manager raises expectations among employees.

raise/arouse expectations of

▪ The prime minister’s remarks aroused expectations of tax cuts.

5. expecting something good to happen

▷ optimistic /ˌɒptɪˈmɪstɪk◂, ˌɒptəˈmɪstɪk◂ǁˌɑːp-/ [adjective]

someone who is optimistic expects good things to happen :

▪ In spite of all her problems she manages to remain optimistic.

▪ an optimistic economic forecast

optimistic about

▪ I’m pretty optimistic about our chances of winning here today.

optimistic that

▪ Are you still optimistic that the climbers can be rescued?

cautiously/guardedly optimistic

expecting good things to happen but knowing that they might not happen

▪ We are cautiously optimistic that the trade deal will go through.

overly optimistic

more optimistic than you should be

▪ The company was overly optimistic in its sale projections.

optimistically [adverb]

▪ Fisher speaks optimistically about the possibility of a vaccine.

▷ optimist /ˈɒptɪməst, ˈɒptəməstǁˈɑːp-/ [countable noun]

someone who always expects good things to happen :

▪ Optimists still believe we can resolve the problem without going to war.

▷ upbeat /ˈʌpbiːt/ [adjective]

expressing a cheerful attitude and showing that you expect to succeed, even though the situation may not be encouraging :

▪ The senator took an upbeat view of the Republicans’ chances in the next election.

upbeat about

▪ Analysts are more upbeat about the long-term outlook for the economy.

6. expecting something bad to happen

▷ pessimistic /ˌpesɪˈmɪstɪk◂, ˌpesəˈmɪstɪk◂/ [adjective]

someone who is pessimistic always expects bad things to happen :

▪ Don’t be too pessimistic - we may still win the game.

pessimistic about

▪ He’s quite pessimistic about his chances of getting another job.

pessimistic that

▪ Beron is pessimistic that a peaceful solution can be found.

pessimistically [adverb]

▪ In his book, Miller writes pessimistically about the future of American cities.

▷ pessimist /ˈpesɪməst, ˈpesəməst/ [countable noun]

someone who always expects bad things to happen :

▪ Don’t be such a pessimist - I’m sure you’ll pass your driving test!

▷ downbeat /ˈdaʊnbiːt/ [adjective]

expressing an attitude that is not at all hopeful and showing that you do not expect success :

▪ The latest economic surveys are more downbeat as a result of the recent decline in world trade.

▷ gloomy /ˈgluːmi/ [adjective]

not having or offering much hope for the future :

▪ A year ago it seemed that a peace treaty looked possible, but now the outlook is much gloomier.

▪ The world’s largest chip maker gave a gloomy forecast for the first quarter.

gloomy about

▪ Most political analysts are gloomy about the country’s future.

gloomily [adverb]

▪ He spoke gloomily about the prospect of a long civil war.

gloom [uncountable noun]

▪ The bad forecast brought gloom to the struggling retail industry.

gloom and doom

▪ I’m not paying much attention to their predictions of gloom and doom.

▷ fear the worst /ˌfɪəʳ ðə ˈwɜːʳst/ [verb phrase] formal

to expect a situation to have the worst possible result because you know how bad the situation could be :

▪ After I hadn’t heard from him for several hours, I began to fear the worst.

▪ Fearing the worst, police have called in reinforcements to help control the crowds.

7. when things happens in the way you expected

▷ as expected /æz ɪkˈspektə̇d/ [adverb]

if something happens as expected, it happens exactly in the way that people expected it to happen :

▪ As expected, the three men were sentenced to life imprisonment.

▪ Tulsa beat New Mexico as expected in last night’s game.

as was/had been expected

▪ Yesterday, as had been expected, the government announced its intention to launch a public enquiry.

▷ be no surprise/come as no surprise /biː ˌnəʊ səʳˈpraɪz, ˌkʌm əz ˌnəʊ səʳˈpraɪz/ [verb phrase not in progressive]

if something that happens is no surprise or comes as no surprise, it is exactly as you expected, so you are not surprised by it :

▪ After a series of scandals, Fleischman’s resignation comes as no surprise.

be no surprise/come as no surprise to

▪ Tina was shocked when she heard she was not being promoted, but it came as no surprise to the rest of us.

be/come as no great surprise

▪ The fact that Brown has decided to run for reelection comes as no great surprise.

it is/comes as no surprise that

▪ It’s no surprise that Jeff and his wife are getting divorced.

be no surprise/come as no surprise to hear/discover/find etc

▪ It was no surprise to hear that Joel had messed the whole thing up again.

▷ predictable /prɪˈdɪktəb ə l/ [adjective]

happening as you expect - use this especially about someone’s behaviour, when you think they are boring or stupid because they always do exactly what you expect :

▪ My dad’s so predictable - every evening he comes home, has two beers, and falls asleep in front of the TV.

▪ The movie was completely predictable - I couldn’t wait for it to end.

predictably [adverb]

as you would expect :

▪ Predictably, a crowd gathered to watch the fire.

▷ be only to be expected /biː ˌəʊnli tə biː ɪkˈspektə̇d/ [verb phrase]

if something, especially something bad or unpleasant, is only to be expected, it is what you should expect in that situation :

▪ A few mistakes were only to be expected when you’re cooking something for the first time.

it is only to be expected that

▪ When you’re over 60, it’s only to be expected that you can’t do as much as you used to.

▷ be par for the course /biː ˌpɑːr fəʳ ðə kɔːʳs/ [verb phrase]

to be what you would normally expect to happen in a particular situation :

▪ If you want to be a politician, a little criticism is par for the course.

▪ It seems in some of those countries that political torture and assassination are par for the course.

▷ I’m not surprised /aɪm nɒt səʳˈpraɪzd/ spoken

say this when something happens that you expected to happen :

▪ I’m not surprised she left him - look at the way he treated her!

▪ Of course I’m disappointed that we lost, but I’m not really surprised.

8. when something happens that you did not expect

▷ unexpected /ˌʌnɪkˈspektɪd◂, ˌʌnɪkˈspektəd◂/ [adjective]

something that is unexpected surprises you because you did not expect it :

▪ There have been unexpected delays on the freeway because of an accident.

completely/totally unexpected

▪ Bobby’s decision to leave the band was totally unexpected.

unexpectedly [adverb]

▪ Dunbar died unexpectedly of a stroke on Thursday.

▷ unforeseen /ˌʌnfɔːʳˈsiːn◂/ [adjective]

unforeseen circumstances/problems/changes etc

situations, problems, changes etc that you did not expect or prepare for, and which usually cause you difficulty :

▪ We had to cancel our visit to Egypt because of unforeseen problems.

▪ Once you have started the training you will not be allowed to leave, unless unforeseen circumstances arise.

▷ be a surprise/come as a surprise /biː ə səʳˈpraɪz, ˌkʌm əz ə səʳˈpraɪz/ []

if something that happens is a surprise or comes as a surprise, you did not expect it to happen, and so you are surprised by it :

▪ Winning the award was a total surprise.

be a surprise/come as a surprise to

▪ Fazio’s announcement came as a surprise to most political observers.

▷ out of the blue /ˌaʊt əv ðə ˈbluː/ [adverb] informal

if something happens out of the blue, you did not expect it, and you are very surprised or shocked by it :

▪ Out of the blue, he asked me to come with him to Europe.

▪ One evening, Angela phoned me out of the blue and said she was in some kind of trouble.

▷ the last person/thing/place (that) you would expect /ðə ˈlɑːst ˈpɜːʳs ə n, ˌθɪŋ, ˌpleɪs (ðət) jʊ wʊd ɪkˌspe/ [verb phrase] informal

one that you did not expect, so that you are very surprised :

▪ Mary’s the last person you’d expect to be stopped for drunk driving

▪ It’s such a quiet little village - it’s the last place you’d expect something like this to happen.

▷ catch somebody off guard/catch somebody unawares /ˌkætʃ somebody ɒf ˌgɑːʳd, kætʃ somebody ˌʌnəˈweəɪʳz/ [verb phrase]

to happen or do something when someone is not expecting it and not ready to deal with it :

▪ I was caught unawares by the hug and the kiss he gave me.

▪ Her rude comments really caught me off guard.

▷ contrary to expectations /ˌkɒntrəri tu ekspekˈteɪʃ ə nzǁkɑːntreri/ [adverb] formal

if something happens contrary to expectations, it is the opposite of what people expected to happen :

▪ Contrary to expectations, the play was a big success.

contrary to somebody’s expectations

▪ Michael won the competition, contrary to everyone’s expectations.

▷ unannounced /ˌʌnəˈnaʊnst◂/ [adjective]

happening unexpectedly, because no one was told about it :

▪ Investigators from the health department made unannounced visits to the hospital in March.

arrive unannounced/show up unannounced

▪ My brother is famous for showing up at our houses unannounced, usually around dinner time.

▷ in your wildest dreams /ɪn jɔːʳ ˌwaɪldə̇st ˈdriːmz/ [adverb]

if something happens that you did not expect in your wildest dreams, it is so good that you never thought that there was any possibility that it could happen :

▪ In our wildest dreams, we could not have expected how successful this program would be.

never in somebody’s wildest dreams

▪ Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined she would win the gold medal.

▷ more than you (had) bargained for /ˌmɔːʳ ð ə n juː (həd) ˈbɑːʳgə̇nd fɔːʳ/

if you get more than you had bargained for, you have more problems or difficulties while doing something than you had expected or prepared for :

▪ Their summer vacation turned out to be much more expensive than they’d bargained for.

▪ We got more than we bargained for when we bought the house. There’s so much work to be done!

9. when someone or something is expected

▷ expected /ɪkˈspektɪd, ɪkˈspektəd/ [adjective only before noun]

▪ An expected crowd of 200,000 will take part in the march.

▪ The expected increase in interest rates has already had an effect on stock prices.

▷ long-awaited /ˈlɒŋ əˌweɪtə̇dǁˈlɔːŋ-/ [adjective only before noun]

a long-awaited event, book, film etc is one that people have been expecting for a long time :

▪ Band members were celebrating the long-awaited release of their first album.

▪ The court’s long-awaited decision was unpopular with groups on both sides of the issue.

▷ be due /biː ˈdjuːǁ-ˈduː/ [verb phrase]

to be expected to happen, arrive, or be finished at a particular time :

▪ When is your baby due?

be due at

▪ The flight from New York is due at 10:30.

be due in

▪ I’ve ruined the meal and our guests are due in half an hour!

be due on

▪ The report is due on Monday, so we’ll have to work over the weekend.

be due to do something

▪ Federal employees are due to return to work on January 8.

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