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"The winning lottery, that will decide the winner of $1 million lottery the rest have to pay for, is ..." says Tom, in front of _____ candidates.

What would be an appropriate word to use in place of the ____ ?

Anxious?

Expecting?

16

expectant (adj.):

having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something good

'Mr Williams thanked everybody for their participation, before he announced the winners of the £25 prizes to the expectant crowd.'

Source: ODO

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with bated breath

Eagerly or anxiously, as in "we waited for the announcement of the winner with bated breath".

This expression literally means "holding one's breath" ( bate means "restrain").

  • They listened with bated breath for the announcement about the winner.

(Cite- McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms/TFD)

Search in Google and you'll find about the same number of hits for 'baited breath' as 'bated breath'.

From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we have:

  • "The whole common room listened with baited breath."

The earliest known citation of the phrase is from Shakespeare's Merchant of enice, 1596:

What should I say to you? Should I not say 'Hath a dog money? is it possible A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key, With bated breath and whispering humbleness )

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    +1. But "baited breath", no matter how popular, is an eggcorn for "bated breath". It's probably so common because "bated" is no longer used in AmE except as part of that set phrase. We do still use "abated". – Brian Hitchcock Jun 30 '15 at 11:29
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Anticipating?

To anticipate something is to be expecting it. Your dog might be waiting by the door, anticipating his next walk or squirrel chase.

"Anticipating something" also often implies that you are preparing to take some action because of your expectations — like when you anticipate your chess opponent's next move and plan a counterattack. The word anticipate can also mean "to come beforehand" — as in a certain musical trend anticipating another. (Vocabulary.com)

Note that the bold part relates to people waiting for an important announcement.

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Impatient may convey the idea of something you are anxious about and can't wait to see the outcome:

  • Unable to wait patiently or tolerate delay; restless.

With a stronger connotation and depending on context you can use also:

apprehensive:

  • uneasy or fearful about something that might happen.

(The Free Dictionary)

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  • apprehensive.. that may seem to be that – user4951 Jun 29 '15 at 7:14
  • Apprehensive is used when someone expects bad news. Wouldn't the people be hoping for good news? – Brian Hitchcock Jun 29 '15 at 9:50
  • @BrianHitchcock - as I said in me answer "with a stronger connotation and depending on context". It seems that the term requested may be applied to different situations. – user66974 Jun 29 '15 at 13:29
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I would suggest waiting on tenterhooks. The OED entry for this figurative use of tenterhooks is:

c. to be on (the) tenterhooks : i.e. in a state of painful suspense or impatience: cf. tenter n.1 3b.

1748 T. Smollett Roderick Random II. xlv. 94, I..left him upon the tenter-hooks of impatient uncertainty.

1812 R. Wilson Private Diary (1861) I. 127 Until I reach the imperial headquarters I shall be on tenter-hooks.

1897 Sat. Rev. 25 Dec. 754/1 The author keeps..the reader..on tenterhooks.

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    Other common variations of this one include "waiting on the edge of your seat", or "waiting with bated breath". But this is a multiple word answer to a question explicitly looking for a single word, and this answer doesn't fit the asker's example in any shape or form. – talrnu Jun 29 '15 at 13:26
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I'm amazed nobody mentioned hopeful so far.
Especially if you are waiting for something good that might happen, you will be full of hope it will happen to you.
Expectant (already supplied by other answers) might be a better fit in a more general context, but for the example given by the question hopeful is certainly a contender.

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