\ ə-ˈgast How to pronounce aghast (audio) \

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

Zoe quickly gets into the mix of the local stable, introducing us to a coterie of likable Brit teens, all of whom are very soft and would be aghast at the nihilistic terrors of Euphoria. Ariana Romero,, "These Are The New Netflix Treats For July 4th Weekend —Besides Stranger Things," 2 July 2019 Yet American coverage of the surprise victory for Vote Leave in the UK’s 2016 referendum was aghast. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "No Exit," 10 Apr. 2019 Our nation’s last remaining moral compass, the advertising industry, is publicly aghast at the latest Facebook revelations, Sapna Maheshwari reports. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Facebook’s crisis PR firm triggered a PR crisis," 17 Nov. 2018 Lawmakers were aghast that Benalla still had an office in the presidential palace 2 1/2 months after the beating, and that he was not immediately reported to judicial authorities. Thomas Adamson, Fox News, "French open judicial probe into beating by Macron aide," 22 July 2018 Theologian Albert Mohler has noted, aghast, that more than 10 percent of Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Anchorage Daily News, "Even atheists should read the Bible," 1 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for aghast

Last Updated

18 Jul 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


\ 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

Comments on aghast

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


to complain fretfully

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