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These verbs mean to affect a person strongly as being unexpected or unusual. To surprise is to fill with often sudden wonder or disbelief as being unanticipated or out of the ordinary: "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity" (George S. Patton).
Astonish suggests overwhelming surprise: The sight of such an enormous crowd astonished us. Amaze implies astonishment and often bewilderment: The violinist's virtuosity has amazed audiences all over the world. Astound connotes shock, as from something unprecedented in one's experience: We were astounded at the beauty of the mountains. Dumbfound adds to astound the suggestion of perplexity and often speechlessness: His question dumbfounded me, and I could not respond. Flabbergast is used as a more colorful equivalent of astound, astonish, or amaze: "He was utterly flabbergasted by the accusation and for a few moments he was quite unable to reply" (Alexander McCall Smith).
v. -prised, -pris•ing,
- Crops up when you least expect it, like dandruff —Robin Worthington
- (I read the note over several times with a kind of stupid) incredulity, like an unbelieving prisoner reading the formal sentence of his own execution —Robert Traver
- Started [at sound of a sudden call] like a horse at the sound of the bugle —Stefan Zweig
- (She) started like a quiet, lovely insect into which someone had suddenly stabbed a pin —Elizabeth Spencer
- Startling as curves in a mountain road —Lorrie Moore
- (The idea was as) startling … as if in a blank wall before her a door had opened —Dorothy Canfield Fisher
- (Perception as) startling as watching a feeling cross a face on Mount Rushmore —Paige Mitchell
- Startling, like a face changing in front of you, from young to old, well to ill —Wilfrid Sheed
- Surprised and shocked as if she had heard an explosion and seen her own shattered legs go flying across the floor —Rachel Ingalls
- Surprised as a sardine that went to sleep in the ocean and woke up in a delicatessen store —Arthur Baer
- Surprised [physical reaction] me as much as if I were a baby suddenly popped from the womb —Angela Carter
- Surprise made me look like a goldfish —Rebecca West
- Surprises keep us living: as when the first light surprised our infant eyes —Louis MacNeice
- Surprising as a child’s laugh rising higher, higher, higher —Babette Deutsch
- (Sharp pain pierced his chest, as quick and) unexpected as the materialization of a hairline crack in bone —Paige Mitchell
- Unexpected as aluminum siding in Buckingham Palace —Anon
- Unexpected as best seller status for a book of Latin quotations —Anon
- Unexpected as a heart attack —Anon
- Unexpected as a heat wave in February —Anon
- Unexpected as gourmet food in a second rate hotel —Anon
- Unexpected as snow in July —Anon
- Unexpectedly wonderful treat, like blue skies and warmth in a chilly spring —Janet Flanner
- You never know what somebody’s got in him: like the man with germs, suddenly he’s down in bed with a crisis —Clifford Odets
bolt from the blue A sudden and entirely unexpected or unforeseen occurrence; a complete surprise; also, the adverbial phrases out of the blue and out of a clear blue sky ’unexpectedly, suddenly; without warning or notice.’ The allusion is to suddenness and surprise similar to that which would be experienced if a bolt of lightning were unexpectedly to appear in a cloudless sky. Although bolt from the blue was in use as early as 1837, out of the blue did not appear until 1919.
bug-eyed Astonished, surprised; aghast with wonder or awe; literally, to have protruding eyes as do certain species of bugs. Though this precise adjective form did not appear until the 1920s, conceptually equivalent expressions date from considerably earlier.
Wouldn’t their eyes bug out, to see ’em handled like that? (Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883)
knock for a loop See CONFUSION.
Scarborough warning Little or no forewarning, no previous notice; a total shock. This expression may allude to the 1557 siege of Scarborough castle, which took its inhabitants completely off guard. Another possible origin concerns a harsh law enacted in Scarborough which allowed the punishment of robbery suspects prior to a trial. In any event, the expression, used frequently in Great Britain until the mid-1800s, is virtually never heard today.
The true man for giving Scarborough warning—first knock you down, then bid you stand. (Sir Walter Scott, Redgauntlet, 1824)
taken aback Surprised or stunned into immobility. This was originally a nautical term describing a square-rigged ship whose sails are blown against the mast, thus preventing further forward movement. An early figurative usage employs the term all aback:
On this subject I am literally as the sailors say all aback. (Edward Winslow, Winslow Papers, 1783)
Surprise can be a verb or a noun.
If something surprises you, you did not expect it.
Don't use a progressive form of surprise. Don't say, for example, 'What you say is surprising me'.
If something is a surprise, it surprises someone.
In stories, expressions such as to my surprise and to her surprise are sometimes used to show that someone is surprised by something.
Don't use any preposition except to in these expressions. Don't say, for example, 'For her surprise he said no'.
Surprised is an adjective. If you are surprised to see something or surprised to hear something, you did not expect to see it or hear it.
Don't say that someone is 'surprised at seeing' or 'surprised at hearing' something. Don't say that someone is 'surprise to' see or hear something. Don't say, for example, 'I was surprised at seeing her return' or 'I was surprise to see her return'.
Past participle: surprised
|Noun||1.||surprise - the astonishment you feel when something totally unexpected happens to you|
|2.||surprise - a sudden unexpected event|
alteration, change, modification - an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another; "the change was intended to increase sales"; "this storm is certainly a change for the worse"; "the neighborhood had undergone few modifications since his last visit years ago"
bombshell, thunderbolt, thunderclap - a shocking surprise; "news of the attack came like a bombshell"
coup de theatre - a dramatic surprise
eye opener - something surprising and revealing
peripeteia, peripetia, peripety - a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or reverse of circumstances (especially in a literary work); "a peripeteia swiftly turns a routine sequence of events into a story worth telling"
blow, shock - an unpleasant or disappointing surprise; "it came as a shock to learn that he was injured"
stunner - an unexpected and amazing event; "the stunner was what happened on Saturday"
|3.||surprise - the act of surprising someone|
|Verb||1.||surprise - cause to be surprised; "The news really surprised me"|
explode a bombshell - utter or do something surprising; "Father exploded a bombshell when he forbade us to go to the prom"
catch - discover or come upon accidentally, suddenly, or unexpectedly; catch somebody doing something or in a certain state; "She caught her son eating candy"; "She was caught shoplifting"
impress, strike, affect, move - have an emotional or cognitive impact upon; "This child impressed me as unusually mature"; "This behavior struck me as odd"
|2.||surprise - come upon or take unawares; "She surprised the couple"; "He surprised an interesting scene"|
act, move - perform an action, or work out or perform (an action); "think before you act"; "We must move quickly"; "The governor should act on the new energy bill"; "The nanny acted quickly by grabbing the toddler and covering him with a wet towel"
blindside - catch unawares, especially with harmful consequences; "The economic downturn blindsided many investors"
|3.||surprise - attack by storm; attack suddenly|
"Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable" [Jane Austen Emma]
imagine my surprise when I found a cheque for £5,000 → puedes imaginarte la sorpresa que me llevé al encontrar or cuando encontré un cheque de 5.000 libras
"what?" George asked in surprise → -¿qué? -preguntó George sorprendido
he saw my look of surprise → me vio la cara de sorpresa
there was a look of surprise on his face → tenía cara de sorpresa
surprise, surprise! (iro) → ¡menuda sorpresa! (iro)
to my/his surprise → para mi/su sorpresa
much to my surprise, he agreed → para gran sorpresa mía, accedió
the element of surprise → el elemento sorpresa
to catch or take sb by surprise → coger or (LAm) tomar a algn por sorpresa
I have a surprise for you → tengo una sorpresa para ti
what a lovely surprise! → ¡qué sorpresa más or tan agradable!
all this comes as something of a surprise → todo esto es en cierto modo una sorpresa
it may come as a surprise to some people → puede que algunos se lleven una sorpresa
it came as a surprise to me to learn that → me llevé una sorpresa al enterarme de que ...
life is full of surprises → la vida está llena de sorpresas
to give sb a surprise → dar una sorpresa a algn
a surprise visit → una visita sorpresa or inesperada
a surprise attack → un ataque por sorpresa
he may surprise us all one day → puede que algún día nos sorprenda a todos
go on, surprise me! (iro) → ¡venga, sorpréndeme! (iro)
you surprise me (also iro) → me sorprende usted
it surprised her to hear John sounding so angry → le sorprendió oír a John hablar tan enfadado
no one will be surprised by her appointment → a nadie le extrañará or sorprenderá su nombramiento
it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up in jail → no me extrañaría or sorprendería que terminara en la cárcel
it surprises me that → me sorprende que + subjun
to surprise o.s → sorprenderse (a sí mismo)
I have a surprise for you → J'ai une surprise pour vous.
to be a surprise to sb, to come as a surprise to sb
This ruling was a surprise to everyone → Cette décision fut une surprise pour tout le monde.
It came as a surprise to me → Cela a été une surprise pour moi.
to take by surprise [+ person] → prendre au dépourvu (MILITARY) [+ town, fort] → prendre par surprise
surprise, surprise! (meeting somebody) → surprise, surprise! (humorous) → vous parlez d'une surprise
it came as quite a surprise to me → fu una grande sorpresa per me
a look of surprise → uno sguardo di sorpresa
much to my surprise, to my great surprise → con mia grande sorpresa
to take by surprise (person) → cogliere di sorpresa (Mil) (town, fort) → attaccare di sorpresa
to give sb a surprise → fare una sorpresa a qn
he was surprised to learn that ... → fu sorpreso di sapere che...
I'm surprised at you! → mi meraviglio di te!
he surprised me into accepting → ho accettato perché colto alla sprovvista
I wouldn't be surprised if he accepts → non mi sorprenderebbe se accettasse
don't be surprised if he comes → non ti meravigliare se viene