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.
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

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 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

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

23 Dec 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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