as·​ton·​ish·​ment | \ə-ˈstä-nish-mənt \

Definition of astonishment 

1a : a feeling of great surprise and wonder : the state of being astonished : amazement The garden's beauty filled me with astonishment.

b : consternation

2 : something that astonishes : a cause of amazement or wonder Everything that he had seen so far … had been so astonishing that he began to wonder whether there could possibly be any more astonishments left.— Roald Dahl

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Synonyms for astonishment


admiration, amazement, awe, wonder, wonderment

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Examples of astonishment in a Sentence

The garden's beauty filled me with astonishment. A crowd watched in astonishment as he jumped from the bridge. They discovered to their astonishment that their car had been stolen. Much to the astonishment of her friends and family, she left school to pursue her acting career.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Such characteristic caution when speaking in public notwithstanding, there is no doubt the prospect of the summit is generating a good deal of interest, and probably astonishment, among average North Koreans. Washington Post, "North Korea gets first big dose of Trump summit news," 11 June 2018 And the astonishment of imponderable Donald Trump presides. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Political Harassment Is for the Birds," 6 July 2018 His expression was the same I’d seen on my brothers’ faces that day at the rancher’s fence, a mix of wonder, astonishment and primal fear. Peter Gwin, WSJ, "The Horses That Changed History," 19 June 2018 To my astonishment, the 10 or so Argentinians joined the fun. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "This is what the World Cup coming to KC would look like, and why it would be such fun," 17 June 2018 To his astonishment, among them were a great number of women. Longreads, "The Roaring Girls of Queer London," 8 May 2018 Among other astonishments here are numerous gorgeous plasters—penciled, incised and painted. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Giacometti’ Review: Beyond a Retrospective," 19 June 2018 At the time, however, Gen. Hays’s promotion was greeted with astonishment from some quarters and derision from others. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Anna Mae Hays, nurse who became U.S. military’s first female general, dies at 97," 8 Jan. 2018 To his astonishment, their system seems to be performing well. Steven Levy, WIRED, "Inside Palmer Luckey’s Bid to Build A Border Wall," 11 June 2018

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

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for astonishment

The first known use of astonishment was in 1566

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More Definitions for astonishment



English Language Learners Definition of astonishment

: a feeling of being very surprised


as·​ton·​ish·​ment | \ə-ˈstä-nish-mənt \

Kids Definition of astonishment

: great surprise or wonder : amazement We watched in astonishment.

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Comments on astonishment

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


playful or foolish behavior

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