future event or consequence that is considered or anticipated to be the most likely to happen
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Expectations are, in the case of uncertainty, things that are considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order.


He who does not expect will not find out the unexpected, for it is trackless and unexplored. ~ Heraclitus
  • Serene I fold my hands and wait,
    Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
    I rave no more 'gainst Time or Fate,
    For lo! my own shall come to me.
    • John Burroughs, "Waiting", line 1, in The Light of Day (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1900), p. v.
  • "Yet doth he live!" exclaims th' impatient heir,
    And sighs for sables which he must not wear.
    • Lord Byron, Lara, A Tale (1814), Canto I, Stanza 3.
  • I have known him [Micawber] come home to supper with a flood of tears, and a declaration that nothing was now left but a jail; and go to bed making a calculation of the expense of putting bow-windows to the house, "in case anything turned up," which was his favorite expression.
  • I suppose, to use our national motto, something will turn up. [Motto of Vraibleusia.]
  • He was fash and full of faith that "something would turn up."
  • Everything comes if a man will only wait.
  • ἐὰν μὴ ἔλπηται ἀνέλπιστον, οὐκ ἐξευρήσει
    • He who does not expect will not find out the unexpected, for it is trackless and unexplored.
    • Heraclitus, Fragment 18, as quoted in The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the Fragments (1981) edited by Charles H. Kahn, p. 105
    • Variants:
    • He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it out.
      • The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the Fragments (1981) edited by Charles H. Kahn, p. 129
    • He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it, since it is trackless and unexplored.
      • As quoted in Helen by Euripides, edited by William Allan (2008), p. 278
    • Unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and thickly tangled.
      • Rendering ἐὰν μή "unless" is more English-friendly without being inaccurate. As for the last clause, the point is that you can neither find it nor navigate your way through it. The alpha-privatives suggest using similar metaphoric adjectives to keep the Greek 'feel.' (S. N. Jenks, 2014)
  • Since yesterday I have been in Alcalá.
    Erelong the time will come, sweet Preciosa,
    When that dull distance shall no more divide us;
    And I no more shall scale thy wall by night
    To steal a kiss from thee, as I do now.
  • PANDORA: What else remains for me?
    EPIMETHEUS: Youth, hope and love:
    To build a new life on a ruined life,
    To make the future fairer than the past,
    And make the past appear a troubled dream.
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Masque of Pandora, VIII: "In the Garden", in The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1875), p. 52
  • I had also read
    on the face of surroundings
    some broken
    some disconnected
    some cracked expectations.
  • Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.
    • Alexander Pope, letter to John Gay (October 6, 1727), in Lewis Melville, Life and Letters of John Gay (London: Daniel O'Connor, 1921), p. 71. Called by Pope and Gay "The Eighth Beatitude." Bishop Heber refers to it as "Swift's Eighth Beatitude." Also called "The Ninth Beatitude".
  • Evidence of the destructiveness of unrealistic expectations can be found in the literature on cognition and marriage. For example, people who feel that their relationship standards (e.g., how alike they believe they should be, the degree to which they should engage in acts of caring and concern for each other) are unmet are more inclined to report more negative cognitive and affective reactions to marital problems (Baucom et al., 1996). Further, research on relationship beliefs indicates that idealistic and unrealistic beliefs, like “mind reading is expected” (partners who truly care about and know one another should be able to sense each other’s needs and preferences without overt communication), “sexual perfectionism” (one must be a “perfect” sexual partner) and “disagreement is destructive” (disagreements in marriage are a sign of impending doom) are positively associated with marital distress (eidelson & Epstein, 1982; Epstein & Eidelson, 1981) and negatively associated with the desire to maintain the relationship (Eidelson & Epstein, 1982).
  • There have sat
    The live-long day, with patient expectation,
    To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
  • Promising is the very air o' the time; it opens the eyes of expectation: performance is ever the duller for his act; and, but in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the deed of saying is quite out of use.
  • 'Tis expectation makes a blessing dear;
    Heaven were not heaven, if we knew what it were.
    • Sir John Suckling, "Against Fruition", line 23, in The Works of Sir John Suckling, ed. A. Hamilton Thompson (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1910), p. 18.
  • Although I enter not,
    Yet round about the spot
    Sometimes I hover,
    And near the sacred gate,
    With longing eyes I wait,
    Expectant of her.
  • 'Tis silence all,
    And pleasing expectation.
  • Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.
    • Sun Tzu, The Art of War, (6th Century BC).
  • It is a folly to expect men to do all that they may reasonably be expected to do.
    • Richard Whately, Miscellaneous Remains from the Commonplace Book of Richard Whately, D.D., edited by Miss E. J. Whately (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1864), "Apothegms", § 21, p. 139.
  • It's a different way to begin separating out nature and nurture, and to see how different this boy would be. But I have many times been asked if my children have followed me into research — it's something people subconsciously expect. For a clone, the pressure would be even greater. People would expect the clone to be like the original, and put expectations and limitations on them, and that's the reason why I don't like to use that technique. I think people should be wanted as individuals.
  • Blessed are those that nought expect,
    For they shall not be disappointed.
    • John Wolcot (as Peter Pindar), Odes to Ins and Outs (London: West and Hughes, 1801). Ode VIII: "To Pitt", line 1; p. 41.
  • Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.
    • Zig Ziglar as quoted in Trigger Events – How To Find Your Next Customer (2007) by Alen Majer, p. 22

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 243-44.
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