Unexpected: Meaning, Synonyms, and How to Pronounce It

“Unexpected” refers to something that happens or appears in a way that was not anticipated or predicted. It’s when something surprising or unanticipated occurs, catching people off guard because they didn’t expect it to happen. Essentially, it means something happened that wasn’t planned or foreseen.

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Meaning and definition of ‘unexpected’

The term “unexpected” can be understood in various contexts and has different meanings depending on the situation. Here are some meanings and definitions:

  • Not Foreseen or Predicted: Something that occurs without being anticipated or predicted, taking people by surprise.
  • Surprising or Unusual: Events, actions, or outcomes that are unusual, catching people off guard due to their unexpected nature.
  • Not Planned or Prearranged: Refers to things that happen spontaneously or without prior planning.
  • Contrary to Expectations: Anything that goes against what was expected or believed to happen.
  • Out of the Ordinary: Describes something that deviates from the normal or regular course of events, making it unexpected.
  • Abrupt or Sudden: Events or changes that happen abruptly and without warning, making them unexpected.
  • Not in Accordance with Previous Experience: When something happens in a way that is different from what has been previously encountered or experienced.

Other forms of ‘unexpected’

The term “unexpected” can be used in various forms, including different parts of speech. Here are the common forms along with explanations and examples:

1. Adjective: Unexpected – Describing something that was not anticipated or predicted.

  • Example: The sudden rain was an unexpected surprise during our picnic.

2. Adverb: Unexpectedly – Describing the manner in which something happens without anticipation.

  • Example: The car unexpectedly broke down on our way to the airport.

3. Noun: Unexpectedness – Referring to the quality of being surprising or not foreseen.

  • Example: The unexpectedness of her arrival made the party even more enjoyable.

4. Verb: Unexpected – Rarely used as a verb form, but it can be used to convey causing surprise or catching someone off guard.

  • Example: His sudden appearance unexpected me.

How to pronounce unexpected?

The word “unexpected” is pronounced as /ˌʌnɪkˈspɛktɪd/. Here’s a breakdown of the pronunciation:

  • Un-: Pronounced like “uhn.”
  • ex-: Pronounced like “eks.”
  • -pect-: Pronounced like “spekt.”
  • -ed: Pronounced like “id.”

When said together, it sounds like “uhn-iks-spek-tid.” The emphasis is typically on the second syllable, so it is pronounced as “un-ik-SPEK-tid.”

Synonyms and antonyms of unexpected

Synonyms of unexpected: unforeseen, surprising, unanticipated, sudden, abrupt, unpredicted, startling, not bargained for, unlooked for, unhoped for, out of the blue, without warning, without notice, chance, fortuitous, unplanned, serendipitous, adventitious, astonishing, uncommon, abnormal, extraordinary, backasswards, accidental, amazing, stunning, swift, unpredictable, wonderful

Antonyms of unexpected: expected, anticipated, predictable, foreseen, planned, prepared, scheduled, predicted, awaited, deliberate, designed, intentional, slow

Examples of ‘unexpected’ in sentences

1. The unexpected rain caught us without umbrellas during our hike.

  • Here, “unexpected” describes the rain, indicating that it was not anticipated or predicted.

2. Her unexpected decision to resign surprised the entire team.

  • “Unexpected” describes the decision, conveying that it came as a surprise and was not foreseen.

3. The unexpected guest at the party turned out to be a long-lost friend.

  • In this case, “unexpected” describes the guest, emphasizing that their arrival was not anticipated or planned.

4. The plot twist in the movie was truly unexpected and left the audience in awe.

  • “Unexpected” here characterizes the plot twist, indicating that it was surprising and not easily predicted by the audience.

5. The unexpected delay in the flight caused inconvenience for the passengers.

  • Describing the delay as “unexpected” emphasizes that it wasn’t part of the original plan and caught passengers off guard.

6. Opening the door, she was greeted by an unexpected sight—a room filled with balloons.

  • “Unexpected” highlights the surprise of the sight, as it was not something she anticipated when opening the door.

7. The sudden and unexpected change in weather forced us to cancel our outdoor event.

  • Here, “unexpected” describes the change in weather, indicating that it happened suddenly and was not predicted.

8. The unexpected success of the new product exceeded everyone’s expectations.

  • Describing the success as “unexpected” emphasizes that it surpassed what was originally anticipated.

9. The unexpected expenses put a strain on their budget for the month.

  • “Unexpected” describes the nature of the expenses, implying that they were not planned for.

10. His unexpected act of kindness made her day brighter.

  • In this example, “unexpected” characterizes the act of kindness, indicating that it was a pleasant surprise and not something she anticipated.

Related words and phrases to ‘unexpected’

Related terms and phrases to “unexpected” often revolve around the concepts of surprise, unpredictability, and spontaneity. Here are some related words and phrases:

1. Surprise: Like “unexpected,” surprise refers to something that happens suddenly and catches people off guard. It’s closely related to the unexpected because it involves an unforeseen event or occurrence.

2. Unforeseen: Similar to unexpected, unforeseen refers to something that was not anticipated or predicted. It emphasizes the lack of foresight or advance knowledge.

3. Spontaneous: Spontaneous actions or events occur without premeditation or planning. They are often unexpected and happen in the moment.

4. Abrupt: An abrupt change or action is sudden and unexpected. It implies a lack of warning or gradual progression.

5. Impromptu: Something impromptu is done without preparation or planning. It often involves spontaneous and unexpected actions or events.

6. Startling: Startling describes something that causes a sudden surprise or shock. It’s related to unexpected events that grab immediate attention.

7. Out of the Blue: This phrase is used to describe something completely unexpected and surprising. It suggests that the occurrence came from an unknown or unexpected source.

8. Curveball: This term, often used metaphorically, refers to an unexpected and surprising event or development. It originates from baseball, where a curveball is a pitch that takes an unexpected path.

9. Came Out of Nowhere: This phrase implies that something happened suddenly and unexpectedly, seemingly without any warning or prior signs.

10. Whirlwind: A whirlwind refers to a rapidly moving, often chaotic, and unpredictable situation. It’s used metaphorically to describe unexpected and intense events.

Rhyming words with unexpected

Finding perfect rhymes for the word “unexpected” can be a bit challenging due to its unique ending. However, here are some near rhymes and words with a similar ending sound:

  • Elected
  • Selected
  • Connected
  • Infected
  • Defected
  • Respected
  • Deflected
  • Detected
  • Neglected
  • Reflected

How can you use ‘unexpected’ in your spoken English?

Using the word “unexpected” in spoken English is easy, and it adds nuance to your communication. Here are some tips with explanations and examples in simple words:

1. Be Specific: Instead of just saying “surprising,” use “unexpected” to be more specific about the element of surprise.

Example: “The gift she gave me was so unexpected; I had no idea she knew what I liked.”

2. Express Surprise: Use “unexpected” to convey that something surprised you or was not anticipated.

  • Example: “Her visit was unexpected, but it made my day so much better!”

3. Describe Changes: When talking about changes that were not planned, use “unexpected” to explain the suddenness.

  • Example: “The unexpected turn in the story made the movie much more interesting.”

4. Use in Storytelling: Incorporate “unexpected” when sharing stories to emphasize surprising moments.

  • Example: “As I opened the door, there was an unexpected sight – a room full of balloons!”

5. Pair with Verbs: Use “unexpected” with action verbs to highlight surprising actions or events.

  • Example: “He unexpectedly showed up at the party, bringing a lot of joy to everyone.”

6. Combine with Feelings: Connect “unexpected” to emotions to convey the impact of surprises.

  • Example: “The unexpected news left me feeling a mix of excitement and disbelief.”

7. Set the Scene: When setting the scene, use “unexpected” to foreshadow surprises.

  • Example: “It was a regular Tuesday when something unexpected happened – a phone call that changed everything.”

8. Use in Problem-Solving: If something unforeseen occurred, explain how it was unexpected in the context of problem-solving.

  • Example: “The unexpected issue came up, but we quickly adapted and found a solution.”

Examples of ‘unexpected’ in Quotes

1. Mary Renault: “There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.”

  • Usage Explanation: Here, “totally unexpected” refers to something that comes as a complete surprise. The contrast is made with the shock of something expected but not prepared for.

2. Jeff Lindsay: “It was such an unexpected and genuine smile that if I only had a soul I’m sure I would have felt quite guilty.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” describes the smile, emphasizing that it was not anticipated, making the experience genuine and surprising.

3. Leo Rosten: “Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.”

  • Usage Explanation: The term “unexpected” describes the nature of things, highlighting their surprising and unforeseen quality.

4. Robert Baden-Powell: “A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” is used to describe events that might catch someone off guard, emphasizing the preparedness of a Scout.

5. Paulo Coelho: “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” refers to events or outcomes that are not planned, emphasizing the importance of embracing unpredictability in life.

6. Heraclitus: “If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.”

  • Usage Explanation: The phrase “expect the unexpected” implies being open to surprises and not being confined by expectations.

7. Julius Caesar: “No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” is used to describe something that disturbs or surprises, highlighting that even brave individuals can be affected by unforeseen events.

8. Ilaiyaraaja: “Life is not what you expect: it is made up of the most unexpected twists and turns.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” describes the twists and turns in life, emphasizing the unpredictable nature of the journey.

9. George Bernard Shaw: “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpected” emphasizes the recurring nature of unexpected events in history, suggesting a challenge in learning from these experiences.

10. Brittany Burgunder: “Don’t say ‘never’ say ‘not yet.’ Some of the most amazing things in life happen unexpectedly.”

  • Usage Explanation: “Unexpectedly” is used to convey the idea that amazing things can happen in life without prior anticipation, encouraging openness to possibilities.

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