verb star·tle \ˈstär-təl\

: to surprise or frighten (someone) suddenly and usually not seriously

: to move or jump suddenly because something surprises you or frightens you

star·tledstar·tling \ˈstärt-liŋ, ˈstär-təl-iŋ\

Full Definition of STARTLE

intransitive verb
:  to move or jump suddenly (as in surprise or alarm) <the baby startles easily>
transitive verb
:  to frighten or surprise suddenly and usually not seriously
star·tle·ment \-mənt\ noun

Examples of STARTLE

  1. I'm sorry that I startled you.
  2. <the lightning startled the children and sent them scurrying for cover>

Origin of STARTLE

Middle English stertlen, frequentative of sterten to start
First Known Use: 1530



Definition of STARTLE

:  a sudden mild shock (as of surprise or alarm)

First Known Use of STARTLE

STARTLED Defined for Kids


verb star·tle \ˈstär-təl\

Definition of STARTLE for Kids

:  to move or jump (as in surprise or fear) <The cat startles easily.>
:  to frighten suddenly but slightly <A knock on the window startled her.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: startle patternPrevious Word in the Dictionary: starting torqueAll Words Near: startle
June 30, 2015
disinformation Hear it
false information deliberately spread
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears