Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

Thesaurus

startle

verb

Synonyms and Antonyms of startle

  1. 1 to make a strong impression on (someone) with something unexpected <the lightning startled the children and sent them scurrying for cover> Synonyms amaze, astonish, astound, bowl over, dumbfound (also dumfound), flabbergast, floor, rock, shock, surprise, stun, stupefy, thunderstrikeRelated Words befuddle, bewilder, blindside, blow away, confound, confuse, daze, discomfit, disconcert, dismay, jar, muddle, nonplus, perplex, shake up

  2. 2 to move suddenly and sharply (as in surprise) <the cat startled when the door slammed shut with a bang> Synonyms bolt, jump, startRelated Words jerk, jolt, twitch; blench, cringe, flinch, quail, recoil, shrink, spook, squinch, wince; bound, leap, spring; react, respond

  3. 3 to strike with fear <loud noises always startle her> Synonyms affright, alarm (also alarum), fright, horrify, panic, scare, scarify, shock, spook, frighten, terrify, terrorizeRelated Words appall (also appal), bowl over, dismay, floor, jolt, shake, shake up; amaze, astound, awe; chill, daunt, demoralize, dispirit, emasculate, psych (out), undo, unman, unnerve, unstring; discomfort, discompose, disconcert, disquiet, distract, distress, disturb, perturb, unsettle, upset, worryNear Antonyms assure, cheer, comfort, console, solace, soothe; embolden, encourage, hearten, inspire, steelAntonyms reassure





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up startle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce perplex disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ