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an·tic·i·pate (ăn-tĭsə-pāt)
v. an·tic·i·pat·ed, an·tic·i·pat·ing, an·tic·i·pates
v.tr.
1.
a. To see as a probable occurrence; expect: We hadn't anticipated the crowds at the zoo. I anticipated that you might be in a hurry.
b. To think of (a future event) with pleasure; look forward to: She anticipated a pleasant hike in the country.
2.
a. To deal with beforehand; act so as to mitigate, nullify, or prevent: We anticipated the storm by boarding up the windows. See Synonyms at expect.
b. To react to (someone) abruptly, especially to prevent someone from continuing or progressing: "Immediately he regretted his words and started to add: 'I didn't know you lived out this way.' But Bloekman anticipated him by asking pleasantly: 'So how's your wife?'" (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
3. To serve as a forerunner to or previous indication of: Her research in the previous decade anticipated these findings.
4. To use in advance, as income not yet available.
5. To pay (a debt) before it is due.
v.intr.
To think, speak, or write about a matter in advance.

[Latin anticipāre, anticipāt-, to take before : ante-, ante- + capere, to take; see kap- in Indo-European roots.]

an·tici·pata·ble adj.
an·tici·pator n.
an·tici·pa·tory (-pə-tôrē) adj.

Usage Note: Many usage commentators have insisted that the verb anticipate be restricted in its use to mean only "to deal with in advance, forestall" (as in We anticipated the storm by boarding up the windows). This tradition frowns on usages that mean "expect or look forward to" as unlicensed. But in our 2002 survey, 87 percent of the Panel approved of anticipate with this meaning in the sentence He is anticipating a visit from his son. This represents a substantial increase over the 62 percent in our 1964 survey. Even when the event being anticipated is expressly stated to be positive, the Panel overwhelmingly approves, with 81 percent accepting We are anticipating a pleasant hike in the country. Oddly enough, the Panel has less enthusiasm for the traditional "forestall" use, though a clear majority (57 percent) still accepted it in 2002 in the anticipated the storm example given above.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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