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The word expect is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the verb expect

What does expect mean as a doing word?

Expect is one of the top 100 most common verbs in the English language.View more statistics!

verb - inflections: expected | expecting | expects

  1. regard something as probable or likely
  2. consider obligatory; request and expect
    • examples: I expect my students to arrive in time for their lessons | They expect him to write the letter
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, for-complement clause]I wished for her to do it
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, noun phrase with past participle]I wished the children found
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, subject control with infinitive]He wished to come
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, that-complement clause]He wished that she would come immediately
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, to be]I wished him to be nice
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, not sentential clause]I wished it

      Wish Verbs (with the same syntax): aim, dream, hope, imagine, intend, mean, plan, propose, think, wish, yen.

    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of expect: ask / require
    • more generic word: demand = request urgently and forcefully
    • more specific word: call = require the presentation of for redemption before maturation
  3. look forward to the probable occurrence of
  4. consider reasonable or due
    • example: I'm expecting a full explanation as to why these files were destroyed
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • more generic words: consider / reckon / regard / see / view = deem to be
  5. look forward to the birth of a child
    • example: She is expecting in March
    • lexical domain: Body Actions - verbs of grooming, dressing and bodily care
    • more generic words: await / look / wait = look forward to the probable occurrence of
  6. be pregnant with

Alternative definition of the verb expect


  1. To look for (mentally); to look forward to, as to something that is believed to be about to happen or come; to have a previous apprehension of, whether of good or evil; to look for with some confidence; to anticipate; -- often followed by an infinitive, sometimes by a clause (with, or without, that).
  2. To consider obligatory or required.
  3. To consider reasonably due.
  4. [context: continuous aspect only, of a woman or couple] to be pregnant, to consider a baby due
  5. [obsolete] To wait for; to await.


Expect is a musical group.


  1. "Expect" is a song by Girl's Day composed by Nam Ki-sang, Kwon Seok-in, and Choe Dok-wan.
  2. "Expect" is a composition.
  3. "Expect" is a 1996 album by Jimmy Lin Chih Ying.
    • released in (19 years ago)


Expect, an extension to the Tcl scripting language written by Don Libes, is a program to automate interactions with programs that expose a text terminal interface. Expect was originally written in 1990 for Unix systems, but is now also available for Microsoft Windows and other systems. It is used to automate control of interactive applications such as telnet, ftp, passwd, fsck, rlogin, tip, ssh, and others. Expect uses pseudo terminals or emulates a console, starts the target program, and then communicates with it, just as a human would, via the terminal or console interface. Tk, another Tcl extension, can be used to provide a GUI.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Expect

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe Foundations of Mathematics (2015)

by Ian Stewart, David Tall

The naive thing to expect is that S has a greatest element, a number such that for every . Unfortunately, this is not quite right. For example, if S is the set of all elements of R that are strictly less than 1, then S is bounded above—for example by .

Google previewEncyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable, and Local Food (2010)

by Leslie A. Duram

Customers patronizing quick-service restaurants expect low-priced, adequate- quality food delivered relatively quickly...

Google previewLinux Dictionary

by Binh Nguyen

Expect is a program that "talks" to other interactive programs according to a script. Following the script, Expect knows what can be expected from a program and what the correct response should be. An interpreted language provides branching ...

Google previewZolar's Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams (2010)

Fully Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Zolar

man: expect unhappiness in love. others; will lead a worried life if you allow everyone's troubles to be yours. woman: will not have a boyfriend or ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Expect

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Usage statistics about expect

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb expect:

spoken English37.37%written English62.63% conversational speech41.95%task-oriented speech58.05% imaginative writing52.89%informational writing47.11%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb expect:


Photos about Expect

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Photo credit: Ian's

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Small photo of Label means what you expect to happen. More...

Video language resources about Expect

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View more videos about What To Expect and Expect The Unexpected.

See also the pronunciation examples of Expect!

Sign language

Expect to Meet Adversity in your Life / American Sign Language

Quotes about Expect

Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level. (Eileen Caddy)
more quotes about expect...

Scrabble value of E1X8P3E1C3T1

The value of this 6-letter word is 17 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of EXPECT

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