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[ek-spek-tey-shuh n] /ˌɛk spɛkˈteɪ ʃən/
the act or the state of expecting:
to wait in expectation.
the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
an expectant mental attitude:
a high pitch of expectation.
something expected; a thing looked forward to.
Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit:
to have great expectations.
the degree of probability that something will occur:
There is little expectation that he will come.
the state of being expected:
a large sum of money in expectation.
Origin of expectation
1530-40; < Latin expectātiōn- (stem of expectātiō) an awaiting, equivalent to expectāt(us) (past participle of expectāre to expect) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
expectational, adjective
expectationist, noun
overexpectation, noun
preexpectation, noun
superexpectation, noun
Can be confused
expectancy, expectation.
2. expectancy, anticipation; hope, trust. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for expectations
  • IT is fair to say that technology investors have high expectations about the future growth of companies in their portfolios.
  • Make sure the department's expectations for adjuncts are clear.
  • The new authorities are trying to lower people's expectations.
  • New study links expectations of rewards to placebo effect.
  • Yet in both cities, the number of riders radically exceeded expectations.
  • At the same time, those reading messages unconsciously interpret them based on their current mood, stereotypes and expectations.
  • Now, the fact that the college is a philanthropy doesn't mean that we're all soft and squishy and have no expectations of you.
  • But there's a twist in this story: inflation expectations aren't rising.
  • Societal expectations play a huge role in human behavior as well as genetic predispositions.
  • Putting course materials online, the university faces high expectations.
British Dictionary definitions for expectations


the act or state of expecting or the state of being expected
(usually pl) something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for: we have great expectations for his future, their worst expectations
an attitude of expectancy or hope; anticipation: to regard something with expectation
  1. the numerical probability that an event will occur
  2. another term for expected value
Derived Forms
expectative (ɪkˈspɛktətɪv) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expectations



1530s, from Middle French expectation (14c.) or directly from Latin expectationem/exspectationem (nominative expectatio/exspectatio) "anticipation, an awaiting," noun of action from past participle stem of expectare/exspectare (see expect). Related: Expectations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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