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 idea of a secret summit with enemy combatants astonished even those close to the process. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Stunt with the Taliban Was Not About Negotiating Peace," 10 Sep. 2019 While many around the country were astonished, Jackson was not. Ross Dellenger,, "Using His Alabama Lessons, Mike Locksley Already Has Maryland's Offense Humming," 9 Sep. 2019 Still astonishes me how fully formed the first Cars album is, and how unlike anything else on the radio at the time. Megan Lavey-heaton |, al, "Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, found dead in New York," 16 Sep. 2019 But the most memorable instrument heard Thursday night was Dickinson’s astonishing vocal, its yearning, ceiling-scraping shrieks nearly indistinguishable from the singer who performed these songs 30 years ago. Ben Crandell,, "Review / Photos: Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden captivate BB&T Center to open Legacy of the Beast Tour," 19 July 2019 Handing out candy and cigarettes, the man, a GI, patiently enunciates his words, before finding, astonished, that the kid speaks perfect English. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 Feb. 2019 What’s astonishing is the degree to which it has been adopted by today’s progressives. Timothy Sandefur, National Review, "The Anti-Slavery Constitution," 12 Sep. 2019 Belvédère is the gateway to the Gordalasque Valley, its cobbled alleyways giving way to astonishing mountain panoramas. National Geographic, "How to go wild in the French Riviera," 5 Aug. 2019 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

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

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for astonish

The first known use of astonish was circa 1534

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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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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).


a calculated move

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