aghast

adjective
\ ə-ˈgast \

Definition of aghast

: struck with terror, amazement, or horror : shocked and upset was aghast when she heard the news

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Did You Know?

If you are aghast, you might look like you've just seen a ghost, or something similarly shocking. "Aghast" traces back to a Middle English verb, gasten, meaning "to frighten." "Gasten" (which also gave us ghastly, meaning "terrible or frightening) comes from "gast," a Middle English spelling of the word ghost. "Gast" also came to be used in English as a verb meaning "to scare." That verb is now obsolete, but its spirit lives on in words spoken by the character Edmund in Shakespeare's King Lear: "gasted by the noise I made, full suddenly he fled."

Examples of aghast in a Sentence

The news left her aghast. Critics were aghast to see how awful the play was.

Recent Examples on the Web

Having left Decatur decades back just mere credits from graduating in order to start her family, Deanna decides to matriculate alongside her kid, who’s initially aghast at the situation but quickly (and surprisingly) is cool with it. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: Melissa McCarthy's C-grade college comedy 'Life of the Party' is a Greek tragedy," 10 May 2018 The Trouble With Voting Machines Past: In the wake of 2016's election security scares, several states were aghast to find that their machines provided little in the way of a verifiable paper trail, rendering them useless if breached. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "If the 2018 Election Is Hacked, This Is How It Will Happen," 5 Nov. 2018 Gunn was swiftly fired, though overwhelmingly, people on social media were aghast that Disney did not seem to care that Gunn had already learned from his mistakes. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Despite backlash, Disney confirms it won’t rehire James Gunn," 16 Aug. 2018 When news hit this afternoon that the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show might be Adriana Lima’s last, the Internet was aghast. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Adriana Lima Shut Down the Victoria’s Secret Runway With Her Epic Final Walk," 9 Nov. 2018 Some critics are aghast at his prices—customers spend, on average, $75,000 to $100,000 in a single visit—and his endless appetite for exotic animal skins. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 Securities lawyers were aghast at the haphazard way Musk announced his plans. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Report: Feds investigating whether Musk’s buyout tweet broke the law," 8 Aug. 2018 Trump's confrontational behavior has left America's allies – and many Republicans and Democrats at home – aghast. Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: There are ‘nuggets of truth’ to what Trump says about trade," 10 June 2018 So the revelations about the match in South Africa have left Australia aghast. Tim Wigmore, New York Times, "Australian Cricket Has Its Own Deflategate, and a Nation Reels," 2 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aghast.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aghast

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aghast

alteration (with h after ghastly, ghost entry 1) of Middle English agast, from past participle of agasten "to frighten, become frightened," from a-, perfective prefix + gasten "to frighten" — more at abide, gast

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for aghast

The first known use of aghast was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for aghast

aghast

adjective
\ ə-ˈgast\

Kids Definition of aghast

: struck with terror, surprise, or horror The news left her aghast.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aghast

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aghast

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aghast

Spanish Central: Translation of aghast

Nglish: Translation of aghast for Spanish Speakers

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