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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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 Buttigieg listened with astonishment as Cleveland Sellers pointed to the berm where he was shot as students scattered. Bill Ruthhart,, "Pete Buttigieg is polling at 0% with black voters in South Carolina. Here’s how he’s rebooting his 2020 approach to win them over.," 5 Dec. 2019 To Emily’s astonishment and heartbreak, her older brother, Austin (Adrian Blake Enscoe), has announced his intention to marry Emily’s best friend and secret lover, Sue (Ella Hunt), whose entire family has died. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "In Apple TV+’s initial smattering of shows, only ‘Dickinson’ is a delicious surprise," 31 Oct. 2019 To me, a teenager in a half-slouch behind the counter at the bookstore, each page was an astonishment: raunchy and vicious and wild, all of it in prose sharp as a scimitar. David Canfield,, "Get a glimpse into Anthony Bourdain’s legacy in The Last Interview exclusive book excerpt," 19 Aug. 2019 As Wong looked down disbelievingly on the destruction, neighborhood resident Bill McElroy was looking up in equally dismayed astonishment. Michael Robertson And Susan Sward,, "Drama on I-880 as the Cypress Freeway collapsed, and the people who were there," 11 Oct. 2019 If there is a case to be made against industrial modernity, it cannot be made by Deen, whose perpetual astonishment seems more improbable than any environmental disaster portrayed in the novel. Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "The Disaster Novelist," 8 Oct. 2019 Imagine my astonishment upon reading Mary McNamara’s overdosing on food shows. Los Angeles Times, "Feedback: Why ‘Fleabag’s’ Emmy win is bad for regular TV viewers," 26 Sep. 2019 Her father looked up in astonishment at the clearing skies and proclaimed that their stroke of luck had protected their crops. Veronica Chambers, New York Times, "Viewfinders: 10 Y.A. Novelists Spin Fiction From Vintage Photos," 28 June 2019 That leaves a lot of room for a lot of transgressive activity, and over the course of Aster’s somewhat languid 140 minutes, the story is guided by Dani’s stages of grief and astonishment and transformation. Michael Phillips,, "‘Midsommar’ review: ‘Hereditary’ director follows up with a scary vacation trip," 25 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for astonishment

Time Traveler

The first known use of astonishment was in 1566

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Statistics for astonishment

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Astonishment.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for astonishment


How to pronounce astonishment (audio)

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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