as·​ton·​ish·​ment | \ ə-ˈstä-nish-mənt How to pronounce astonishment (audio) \

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.
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

Oh my god,’ and put her hands over her mouth in astonishment. Shawn Mcfarland,, "State open track: Bloomfield boys wins team title; Canton’s Mitchell, Hall’s Cormier win big," 4 June 2019 The outspoken Liselotte, like the tragic Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England, and known as the Winter Queen, was one of history’s esoteric fascinators who bewitched Karl: his erudition was a constant astonishment. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Remembers the Unparalleled Energy, Wicked Wit, and Insatiable Curiosity of Karl Lagerfeld," 20 Feb. 2019 Peter James, a corporate pilot with 25 years of experience per his Twitter bio, remarked at the plane's pace in astonishment on Twitter: Jet streams are essentially rivers or currents of air that travel west to east across the planet. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Virgin Flight Reaches 801 MPH as Furious Jet Stream Propels Plane Faster Than Speed of Sound," 19 Feb. 2019 An Australian journalist's tweet expressing astonishment that a national disaster hadn't been declared was retweeted nearly 5,000 times. Fox News, "Indonesia: Lombok quakes don't meet national disaster status," 21 Aug. 2018 We are permitted to inhabit an ebullient artificial world, with the further astonishment, once inside it, of being moved to our core. Geoffrey O’brien, WSJ, "‘How Did Lubitsch Do It?’ Review: Master of the Humane Comedy," 21 June 2018 To their astonishment, Straker answered — and issued a challenge., "Do all guys wear the same black tux to prom?," 21 Mar. 2018 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

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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Statistics for astonishment

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for astonishment

The first known use of astonishment was in 1566

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English Language Learners Definition of astonishment

: a feeling of being very surprised


as·​ton·​ish·​ment | \ ə-ˈstä-nish-mənt How to pronounce astonishment (audio) \

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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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