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

Synonyms for astonishment


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The themes were tones and feelings [about] the ever increasing astonishment at how crazy the world is. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 14 Mar. 2022 There’s not just a measure of dignity in Awad’s portrayal of Huda but also, to one’s astonishment, a certain calm. The New Yorker, 25 Feb. 2022 His expression, which was something akin to gleeful astonishment, seemed to sum up the mood of many in England at the moment. Washington Post, 11 July 2021 Jamie Harrison’s illusions, the stuff of phoenix feather and unicorn horn, are an absolute astonishment. New York Times, 7 Dec. 2021 Because, to his astonishment, there was no substantial monument – anywhere – in spite of the staggering number of dead. CBS News, 6 Mar. 2022 One of his tutors there, Eytan Pessen, recalled his astonishment at hearing about the new student. New York Times, 4 Mar. 2022 Dancers with the stamina and grace to sustain slowly become agents of astonishment. Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2022 Entering the world of the great apes leaves you with a feeling of astonishment. The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of astonishment

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Learn More About astonishment

Time Traveler for astonishment

Time Traveler

The first known use of astonishment was in 1566

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near astonishment




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for astonishment

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Astonishment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for astonishment


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on astonishment

Nglish: Translation of astonishment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of astonishment for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!