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

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's Locker Room is astonishing! Scott Patsko,, "Odell Beckham Jr. gets a look at Tottenham Hotspur’s NFL setup for London Games," 3 July 2019 What astonishes the Dodgers most about their new ace is his unortodox training process. Stephanie Apstein,, "Hyun-jin Ryu's Training Routine Is More Baffling Than His Success," 13 June 2019 Mark tells us that, years later, when Jesus returned to his native Nazareth after the launch of his ministry, the people of his hometown were astonished by his words. National Geographic, "How Jesus's childhood influenced the Gospels," 16 May 2019 Philip watched, astonished and helpless, as his wife was wheeled away. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 Inside these astonishing numbers, though, is a more compelling story about the ever-changing innovative forces always at work in the U.S. economy. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Amazon Is No. 1, for Now," 7 Jan. 2019 But the real stars of the week were newcomer Yalitza Aparicio in Prabal Gurung’s sparkling, encrusted slip and the ever astonishing Emma Stone in Nicolas Ghesquière’s floral-on-floral corset and trouser for Louis Vuitton. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "10 Best Dressed: Week of January 7, 2019," 7 Jan. 2019 Spygate’ as much as possible, using the word six times, and acting as though he was astonished by the allegations. Chas Danner, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani Admits ‘Spygate’ Is PR in Anticipation of Impeachment," 27 May 2018 My makeup totally disappeared, and I was left standing at my bathroom sink completely astonished. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Is Top-Rated on Amazon, and Takes My Makeup Off in Under 5 Minutes," 11 Dec. 2018

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

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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