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EXPECT', verb transitive [Latin expecto; ex and specto, to look, that is, to reach forward, or to fix the eyes.]

1. To wait for.

The guards,

By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect

Their motion.

[This sense, though often used by Gibbon, seems to be obsolescent.]

2. To look for; to have a previous apprehension of something future, whether good or evil; to entertain at least a slight belief that an event will happen. We expect a visit that has been promised. We expect money will be paid at the time it is due, though we are often disappointed.

EXPECT, in its legitimate sense, always refers to a future event. The common phrase, I expect it was, is a vulgar as it is improper.