SKIP TO CONTENT

unexpected

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”
    Synonyms:
    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
    upset
    used of an unexpected defeat of a team favored to win
    surprising
    causing surprise or wonder or amazement
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    expected
    considered likely or probable to happen or arrive
    anticipated, awaited, hoped-for
    expected hopefully
    due
    scheduled to arrive
    expectable
    to be expected
    matter-of-course
    expected or depended upon as a natural or logical outcome
    unsurprising
    not causing surprise
    show more antonyms...
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week