shock

1 of 6

noun (1)

often attributive
1
a(1)
: a sudden or violent mental or emotional disturbance
(2)
: a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something
b
: something that causes such disturbance
the loss came as a shock
c
: a state of being so disturbed
were in shock after they heard the news
2
: a state of profound depression of the vital processes associated with reduced blood volume and pressure and caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, or burns
3
: sudden stimulation of the nerves and convulsive contraction of the muscles caused by the discharge of electricity through the animal body
4
5
a
: a violent shake or jar : concussion
b
: an effect of such violence
6
7
: the impact or encounter of individuals or groups in combat

shock

2 of 6

verb (1)

shocked; shocking; shocks

transitive verb

1
a
: to strike with surprise, terror, horror, or disgust
b
: to cause to undergo a physical or nervous shock
c
: to subject to the action of an electrical discharge
2
: to drive by or as if by a shock

intransitive verb

1
: to cause surprise or shock
an exhibit meant to shock
2
: to meet with a shock : collide
3
cooking : to halt further cooking of (a vegetable) by submerging in ice water
If you blanch and shock your vegetables (cook them quickly in boiling water, then immerse them in ice water), you'll get a perfectly cooked texture and a nice vibrant color. Once you've done that, you can easily sauté, dress, or grill them.Amanda Freitag
Another way to prevent overcooking is to shock the asparagus in an ice bath … The cold water will stop the cooking process as well as bring out the vegetable's naturally bright color and maintain its crisp texture.Grace Haynes
shockable adjective

shock

3 of 6

noun (2)

: a thick bushy mass (as of hair)

shock

4 of 6

adjective

shock

5 of 6

noun (3)

: a pile of sheaves of grain or stalks of corn set up in a field with the butt ends down

shock

6 of 6

verb (2)

shocked; shocking; shocks

transitive verb

: to collect into shocks
Choose the Right Synonym for shock

impact, collision, shock, concussion mean a forceful, even violent contact between two or more things.

impact may be used to imply contact between two things, at least one of which is impelled toward the other.

the glass shattered on impact with the floor

collision implies the coming together of two or more things with such force that both or all are damaged or their progress is severely impeded.

the collision damaged the vehicle

shock often denotes the effect produced by a collision and carries the suggestion of something that strikes or hits with force.

the shock of falling rocks

concussion when not in technical use, often suggests the shattering, disrupting, or weakening effects of a collision, explosion, or blow.

bystanders felt the concussion of the blast

Examples of shock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Do not apply an electrical shock to the snake bite. Tiffani Jackson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Apr. 2024 Francesca Farago and Jesse Sullivan are still in shock over their pregnancy news! Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 2 Apr. 2024 The key risk, the firm said, would be an energy shock. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 2 Apr. 2024 Those protests stopped on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group launched its shock attack on southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages back to Gaza. Maayan Lubell and Emily Rose, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2024 The president, along with Economy Minister Luis ‘Toto’ Caputo, engineered an economic shock that shot inflation through the roof as the peso was aggressively devalued against the dollar. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 While Jasiri looks like a black tuber with a head right now — correction, an adorable little tuber with a shock of black hair — in about 6 months, its fur will turn brown. John Metcalfe, The Mercury News, 28 Mar. 2024 Severe dengue is less common, but the symptoms can include shock and internal bleeding. Rafy Rivera, CNN, 28 Mar. 2024 Perfect for running and walking enthusiasts alike, the sporty kicks are strategically designed to propel you forward to put an extra pep in your step, all while absorbing shock, cradling your arches, and preventing fatigue. Aly Walansky, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2024
Adjective
Currently in a post-shock trial refit, observers expect the USS Ford to re-emerge, ready for action, in mid-2022, departing for a deployment sometime after. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 For chair Jay Powell, this is the moment to prove that the Fed has learned the lessons of the recovery from the Great Financial Crisis, when employment didn’t return to pre-shock levels for six-and-a-half years. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 16 June 2021 Perhaps because of those capabilities, Future 50 companies returned to pre-shock levels in 15 weeks, while the MSCI World stock index took more than six months. Tom Deegan, Fortune, 22 Apr. 2021 Most e-collars also have non-shock cues such as beeps or vibrations that act as a stimulus for training. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 6 Oct. 2020 As the shockwave continues outward, the material in the post-shock regions quickly cools and recombines. Michelle Hampson, Discover Magazine, 7 Aug. 2018
Verb
The news of Branham’s decision to reassign Jacobs has shocked the athletic community. Nathan Canilao, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 Ellis' family was shocked and saddened by the hire, said attorney Matthew Ericksen. CBS News, 3 Apr. 2024 Even in Hualien, one of Taiwan’s most earthquake-prone areas, residents were shocked by the strength of the shaking. Júlia Ledur, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 When Perlman got to Juilliard, he was shocked when he was encouraged by his new teacher to be more expressive and self-reflective. Mary C. Murphy, TIME, 2 Apr. 2024 From the March 2002 issue: 1491 Native Americans who visited European cities or even colonial towns were shocked at the inequality and lack of freedom. Kathleen Duval, The Atlantic, 2 Apr. 2024 Another peeling tip is to shock the eggs in ice water immediately to stop the cooking process. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2024 These can include inserting a breathing tube, administering medications and possibly shocking the patient again. Helen Ouyang, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Other friends said they, too, were shocked and devastated by the crash and the loss of the family. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle French choc, from choquer to strike against, from Old French choquier, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch schocken to jolt

Adjective

perhaps from shock entry 5

Noun (3)

Middle English; akin to Middle High German schoc heap

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 7

Verb (1)

1575, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

Noun (2)

1819, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1681, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shock was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near shock

Cite this Entry

“Shock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shock. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

shock

1 of 4 noun
: a bunch of sheaves of grain or stalks of corn set on end (as in a field)

shock

2 of 4 noun
1
: the sudden violent collision of bodies in a fight
the shock of combat
2
: a violent shake or jerk
an earthquake shock
3
a
: a sudden or violent disturbance of the mind or feelings
the shock of defeat
b
: something that causes such a disturbance
the news came as a shock
c
: a state of being so disturbed
were in shock when they heard the true story
4
: a state of bodily collapse that is often marked by a drop in blood pressure and volume and that is usually caused by a severe injury, burn, or hemorrhage
5
: the effect of a strong charge of electricity passing through the body of a person or animal

shock

3 of 4 verb
1
: to strike with surprise, horror, or disgust
were shocked by her behavior
2
: to affect by electrical shock
3
: to drive into or out of by or as if by a shock
shocked the public into action
shocker noun

shock

4 of 4 noun
: a thick bushy mass
a shock of hair
Etymology

Noun

Middle English shock "bunch of stalks"

Noun

from early French choc "a violent collision, shock," from choquer (verb) "to strike against," from earlier choquier (same meaning); probably of Germanic origin

Noun

from earlier shock (adjective) "bushy," probably derived from shock (noun) "a bunch of stalks" because of the similarity of the appearance of bushy hair to a bunch of stalks of grain

Medical Definition

shock

1 of 2 noun
1
: a sudden or violent disturbance in the mental or emotional faculties
2
: a state of profound depression of the vital processes of the body that is characterized by pallor, rapid but weak pulse, rapid and shallow respiration, reduced total blood volume, and low blood pressure and that is caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, burns, or major surgery
3
: sudden stimulation of the nerves or convulsive contraction of the muscles that is caused by the discharge through the animal body of electricity from a charged source compare electroconvulsive therapy

shock

2 of 2 transitive verb
1
: to cause to undergo a physical or nervous shock
2
: to subject to the action of an electrical discharge

Legal Definition

shock

adjective
: of, relating to, or being a criminal sentence or condition of release involving participation in a program of vigorous physical training, discipline, regimentation, and rehabilitation therapy
shock incarceration
shock probation
shock parole

More from Merriam-Webster on shock

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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