Use the adjective unexpected to describe something that takes you by surprise. An unexpected knock on your front door might make you jump.

When you don't anticipate something, and have no clue that it's coming, you can call it unexpected. A successful surprise party is always unexpected, and an unexpected visitor can be exciting or inconvenient, depending on who it is. If you expect an event, you know it's going to occur, but if it's unexpected, it seems to come from nowhere. The Latin root is expectare, "await, look out for, desire, or hope."

Definitions of unexpected
  1. adjective
    not expected or anticipated
    unexpected guests”
    unexpected news”
    unannounced, unheralded, unpredicted
    without warning or announcement
    out of the blue, unanticipated, unforeseen, unlooked-for
    not anticipated
    unhoped, unhoped-for, unthought, unthought-of
    so unexpected as to have not been imagined
    unprovided for
    not prepared or ready for
    used of an unexpected defeat of a team favored to win
    causing surprise or wonder or amazement
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    considered likely or probable to happen or arrive
    anticipated, awaited, hoped-for
    expected hopefully
    scheduled to arrive
    to be expected
    expected or depended upon as a natural or logical outcome
    not causing surprise
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