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 He was named on 88% of the ballots, which astonished him. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "Al Kaline was a first-class man, even when I bombarded him 40 years ago," 7 Apr. 2020 Hunt's mother Kristen told CBS affiliate WVLT she was equally astonished by the gesture. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Classmates collect new toys for third grader who lost everything in house fire," 2 Oct. 2019 The other thing is I’ve been astonished by the acts of kindness people have shown, especially me as a health care worker. Ben Flanagan |, al, "'We’ll get there’: UAB infectious disease expert on testing, treatment and hope," 12 May 2020 Both shows address an artist whose skill never ceases to astonish. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "John Singer Sargent didn’t just paint the 1 percent. There was another, less-known side to his art.," 6 Mar. 2020 Nicol tours Grytviken and is astonished by how much remains of the factory in King Edward Cove. Lucy Jakub, Harper's magazine, "A View to a Krill," 2 Mar. 2020 Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said PG&E was better this time about getting information to people who would be affected, but he was still astonished by the need to resort to largescale blackouts. CBS News, "California wildfire fanned by 70 mph winds forces hundreds to flee," 24 Oct. 2019 Baldwin’s Trump announced, a line that seemed to astonish the studio audience. Hal Boedeker,, "'SNL' rips 'shade queen Donald Trump'," 8 Apr. 2018 After Systrom sells Instagram to Facebook in 2012 for an (at the time) astonishing $1 billion, Zuckerberg comes off as controlling and cruel, maniacally focused on growth at the expense of all else. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Scrolling Through the Rise, and Takeover, of Instagram," 14 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for astonish

Time Traveler

The first known use of astonish was circa 1534

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Statistics for astonish

Cite this Entry

“Astonish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for astonish


How to pronounce astonish (audio)

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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