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[an-tis-uh-peyt] /ænˈtɪs əˌpeɪt/
verb (used with object), anticipated, anticipating.
to realize beforehand; foretaste or foresee:
to anticipate pleasure.
to expect; look forward to; be sure of:
to anticipate a favorable decision.
to perform (an action) before another has had time to act.
to answer (a question), obey (a command), or satisfy (a request) before it is made:
He anticipated each of my orders.
to nullify, prevent, or forestall by taking countermeasures in advance:
to anticipate a military attack.
to consider or mention before the proper time:
to anticipate more difficult questions.
to be before (another) in doing, thinking, achieving, etc.:
Many modern inventions were anticipated by Leonardo da Vinci.
  1. to expend (funds) before they are legitimately available for use.
  2. to discharge (an obligation) before it is due.
verb (used without object), anticipated, anticipating.
to think, speak, act, or feel an emotional response in advance.
Origin of anticipate
1525-35; < Latin anticipātus taken before, anticipated (past participle of anticipāre), equivalent to anti- (variant of ante- ante-) + -cip- (combining form of capere to take) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
anticipatable, adjective
anticipator, noun
preanticipate, verb (used with object), preanticipated, preanticipating.
unanticipated, adjective
unanticipating, adjective
unanticipatingly, adverb
well-anticipated, adjective
1. See expect. 5. preclude, obviate.
Usage note
Despite claims that anticipate should only be used to mean “to perform (an action) or respond to (a question, etc.) in advance” or “to forestall,” it has been used widely since the 18th century as a synonym for expect, often with an implication of pleasure: We anticipate a large turnout at the next meeting. This use is standard in all types of speech and writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unanticipated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But disaster, all unanticipated, came upon them with the sweep of the whirlwind.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • The girls grumbled at this unanticipated tightening of the reins.

    The Madcap of the School Angela Brazil
  • He had met with unanticipated difficulties in his investigation.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • Christmas came, and with it an unanticipated call from Miss.

    In the Year of Jubilee George Gissing
  • Once more, important but unanticipated and even unperceived consequences followed.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
British Dictionary definitions for unanticipated


not anticipated; unforeseen


verb (mainly transitive)
(may take a clause as object) to foresee and act in advance of: he anticipated the fall in value by selling early
to thwart by acting in advance of; forestall: I anticipated his punch by moving out of reach
(also intransitive) to mention (something) before its proper time: don't anticipate the climax of the story
(may take a clause as object) to regard as likely; expect; foresee: he anticipated that it would happen
to make use of in advance of possession: he anticipated his salary in buying a house
to pay (a bill, etc) before it falls due
to cause to happen sooner: the spread of nationalism anticipated the decline of the Empire
Derived Forms
anticipator, noun
anticipatory, anticipative, adjective
anticipatorily, anticipatively, adverb
Usage note
The use of anticipate to mean expect should be avoided
Word Origin
C16: from Latin anticipāre to take before, realize beforehand, from anti-ante- + capere to take
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 unanticipated

1741, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of anticipate.



1530s, "to cause to happen sooner," a back-formation from anticipation, or else from Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare "take (care of) ahead of time," literally "taking into possession beforehand," from ante "before" (see ante) + capere "to take" (see capable).

Later "to be aware of (something) coming at a future time" (1640s). Used in the sense of "expect, look forward to" since 1749, but anticipate has an element of "prepare for, forestall" that should prevent its being used as a synonym for expect. Related: Anticipated; anticipating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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