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"People gathered in the suburbs of the city,  carrying heavy telescopes,expecting to watch the brightly burning meteors passing through the sky."

How to understand "expect" in the sentence? I think in the sentence, people looked forward to watching meteor. But after I looked the word up in the dictionaries like Webster(http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/expect) or Mermillan (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/expect), I find that "expect" means "to think sth will happen".

So I am wondering whether "expect" could mean to "to look forward to".

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Well, "expect" means to think that something will happen in the future. If it's a good thing, than you might look forward to it with anticipation. Like, "The little boy EXPECTED to get a new baseball bat for Christmas." He thinks that he will, and he wants it. You could also "expect" something bad. Like, "I expect my insurance rates to go up." I don't want them to go up, but I think that they will.

So in this example, people thought that something would happen, and they wanted it to happen, so they were looking forward to it. But nothing in the word "expect" implies a good thing. It could be good or bad. You might want it or dread it.

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When we say we "look forward to" something, we mean that we eagerly await its arrival or occurrence. When we say we "expect" or "are expecting" something to arrive or to occur, we mean merely a neutral prognostication: we have reason to believe that it will arrive or occur.

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