Meeting Expectations: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 31, 2023

"Meeting expectations" is a phrase we often hear, but what does it truly mean? It generally refers to fulfilling or satisfying the hopes, desires, or requirements someone has set for a task or oneself.

In short:

"Meeting expectations" means accomplishing what is anticipated or hoped for by oneself or others.

What Does “Meeting Expectations” Mean?

When someone says they are "meeting expectations," they usually mean they are fulfilling set standards, requirements, or hopes for a task or for themselves. This achievement pertains to anticipated or required outcomes in school, work, or personal relationships.

  • It can relate to performance, such as meeting the expectations set by a teacher or a boss.
  • It can also refer to fulfilling emotional or relational expectations in friendships or partnerships.
  • It might involve meeting societal expectations, like behaving in a way that is considered appropriate or acceptable.

It is a versatile phrase, applicable in various contexts, and can be used to describe different levels of satisfaction or achievement.

Where Does “Meeting Expectations” Come From?

The phrase “meeting expectations” is a common term used in various contexts, particularly in business and education. The term “meeting” comes from the Old English “metanwhich means "to find, find out; fall in with, encounter; obtain." The term “expectations” comes from the Latin “expectationem” meaning "an awaiting.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin and first usage of the phrase “meeting expectations,” it’s likely that it came into use with the rise of performance evaluations in business and grading systems in education. In these contexts, “meeting expectations” typically means performing to a standard or level set by an authority such as a manager or teacher.

10 Examples of “Meeting Expectations” in Sentences

To understand how the phrase “meeting expectations” can be used in various contexts, here are some examples:

  • John was relieved to find out he was meeting expectations at his new job.
  • As the golden child, Lisa always aimed at not just meeting expectations but exceeding them.
  • The new software update is definitely meeting expectations, with an improved user interface and additional features.
  • For a relationship to be successful, both partners need to work on meeting expectations and communicating effectively.
  • The movie didn’t end up meeting expectations due to its predictable plot and lackluster performances.
  • By meeting expectations consistently, the team was able to set a precedent and secure future projects.
  • The restaurant is popular because it has a reputation for meeting expectations with its high-quality food and excellent service; that's no mean feat.
  • Parents need to ensure that they are meeting expectations in providing a nurturing environment for their children.
  • The new policy is meeting expectations in addressing the concerns raised by the community.
  • Tom realized that by meeting expectations in his studies, he could explore more opportunities and go places.

These examples illustrate the versatility of the phrase, demonstrating its applicability in diverse situations and scenarios, ranging from professional settings to personal relationships.

Examples of “Meeting Expectations” in Pop Culture

The phrase “meeting expectations” has also made its appearance in various aspects of pop culture, reflecting its relevance and ubiquity in contemporary society.

Here are some instances where this idiom has been prominently featured:

  • The song Time to Run by Pink Lemonade contains the lyrics: "Wasn't looking for love and I'm kind of sick of meeting expectations."
  • The book "Meeting Expectations in Management Education" by Elizabeth Christopher is about the challenges and pressures managers face in meeting social and environmental expectations.
  • A quote from the book Rebel at Work by Natalie Neelan states: "Meeting expectations helps people build confidence in themselves and builds trust with others."

These examples underscore the widespread use of the phrase in evaluating and discussing various forms of entertainment and cultural products.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Meeting Expectations”

There are several other ways to convey the idea of “meeting expectations,” each with its own nuance and context of use.

Here are some synonyms and related expressions:

  • Fulfilling requirements
  • Satisfying needs
  • Living up to standards
  • Achieving goals
  • Realizing aspirations
  • Matching up to
  • Reaching the mark
  • Complying with
  • Conforming to
  • Accomplishing objectives

These alternative phrases can be used interchangeably with “meeting expectations,” depending on the context.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Meeting Expectations”:

  • What does “meeting expectations” generally mean?

It generally means fulfilling or satisfying the requirements, standards, or hopes that have been set for a task or for oneself.

  • Where does the phrase “meeting expectations” come from?

The phrase doesn’t have a single point of origin. It is a common expression used to convey satisfaction or fulfillment of predetermined standards or hopes.

  • Can “meeting expectations” be used in different contexts?

Yes, it is a versatile phrase that can be used in various contexts such as academic, professional, and personal to denote the achievement of set standards or goals.

  • Is “meeting expectations” always about fulfilling others’ requirements?

No, it can also refer to meeting one’s own expectations and achieving personal goals and aspirations.

  • Can failing to meet expectations have consequences?

Yes, depending on the context, not meeting expectations can lead to various consequences such as dissatisfaction, loss of opportunities, or strained relationships.

  • Is “meeting expectations” a subjective concept?

Yes, what may be considered as meeting expectations for one individual may not be the same for another due to differing standards, values, and perspectives.

  • Can the phrase be used to describe inanimate objects or abstract concepts?

Yes, it can be used to describe anything that has set standards or anticipated outcomes, such as a product meeting quality expectations or a policy meeting its intended objectives.

  • Is exceeding expectations the same as meeting expectations?

No, exceeding expectations implies going above and beyond what is anticipated or required, while meeting expectations denotes fulfilling the set standards or requirements.

  • Can one meet expectations but still feel unsatisfied?

Yes, it is possible if the individual’s personal standards or aspirations are higher than the expectations they have met.

  • Is it important to communicate expectations clearly?

Yes, clear communication of expectations is crucial to avoid misunderstandings and ensure alignment of goals and standards among individuals or within organizations.

Final Thoughts About “Meeting Expectations”

Understanding the idiom is crucial in navigating various aspects of life, from personal goals to professional endeavors and interpersonal relationships.

  • It is a versatile phrase to express the fulfillment of set standards, requirements, or hopes.
  • It can be applied in diverse contexts, reflecting its relevance and ubiquity in everyday language.
  • Whether it’s about living up to one’s standards or those set by others, meeting expectations denotes a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
  • It is important to communicate and understand expectations clearly to ensure alignment and avoid misunderstandings.


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