as·​ton·​ish | \ ə-ˈstä-nish How to pronounce astonish (audio) \
astonished; astonishing; astonishes

Definition of astonish

transitive verb

1 : to strike with sudden and usually great wonder or surprise He was too astonished to speak They were astonished by the vastness and majesty of the cathedral. In retrospect, it astonishes me that we avoided a major quarrel for so long.— Christopher Hitchens
2 obsolete : to strike with sudden fear

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Choose the Right Synonym for astonish

surprise, astonish, astound, amaze, flabbergast mean to impress forcibly through unexpectedness. surprise stresses causing an effect through being unexpected but not necessarily unusual or novel. surprised to find them at home astonish implies surprising so greatly as to seem incredible. a discovery that astonished the world astound stresses the shock of astonishment. too astounded to respond amaze suggests an effect of bewilderment. amazed by the immense size of the place flabbergast may suggest thorough astonishment and bewilderment or dismay. flabbergasted by his angry refusal

Examples of astonish in a Sentence

Despite the hype, there was nothing in the book to astonish readers. The garden's beauty never fails to astonish.

Recent Examples on the Web

Buildings like the Parthenon of Athens, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion have astonished visitors for thousands of years. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Crane Has Been Perfect Since 700 B.C.," 27 Aug. 2019 He was astonished to see a home that was larger than his place of work. Tina Daunt, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column One: Bob Hope house in Palm Springs, long an architectural footnote, approaches masterpiece status," 8 June 2019 What we were told was astonishing: The Pakistanis were all across the Indian mountain peaks. Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, Quartz India, "What was it like to be a diplomat in Pakistan during the Kargil war: A former Indian envoy remembers," 28 July 2019 First, in a ruling legal scholars generally saw as wacky, Reed O’Connor, a right-wing district court judge, astonished the country last December by throwing out the Affordable Care Act altogether. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: How the GOP may pave the way for ‘socialized medicine’," 11 July 2019 The 2019 Cannes Film Festival wraps up this weekend, and with it, another year of astonishing glamour and improbably long standing ovations. Marley Marius, Vogue, "5 Under-the-Radar Cannes Films Critics Are Buzzing About," 23 May 2019 Dawn of revolution Beethoven was 18 in the summer of 1789 when astonishing news reached Bonn: The storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14 had ushered in a new order based on revolutionary principles of individual liberty and rights. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019 Hennigan’s 1,746 receiving yards led both leagues by an astonishing 570. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "The Loop Fantasy Football Flashback: Greatest Receivers of the Century," 19 July 2019 On the day before what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday, these astonishing Angels played a practically perfect game with his memory in their minds. Greg Beacham,, "Grieving Angels throw no-hitter, conjuring memories of Marlins’ first game after death of Jose Fernandez," 13 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astonish.' 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 astonish

circa 1534, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for astonish

probably from earlier astony (from Middle English astonen, astonien, from Anglo-French estoner to stun, from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex- + tonare to thunder) + -ish (as in abolish) — more at thunder entry 1

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Statistics for astonish

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for astonish

The first known use of astonish was circa 1534

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More Definitions for astonish



English Language Learners Definition of astonish

: to cause a feeling of great wonder or surprise in (someone)


as·​ton·​ish | \ ə-ˈstä-nish How to pronounce astonish (audio) \
astonished; astonishing

Kids Definition of astonish

: to strike with sudden wonder or surprise I was astonished to find a meteorite in my backyard.

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More from Merriam-Webster on astonish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with astonish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for astonish

Spanish Central: Translation of astonish

Nglish: Translation of astonish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of astonish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on astonish

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


to spread over or through

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