shock·​ing | \ ˈshä-kiŋ How to pronounce shocking (audio) \

Definition of shocking

: extremely startling, distressing, or offensive shocking news

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Other Words from shocking

shockingly \ ˈshä-​kiŋ-​lē How to pronounce shocking (audio) \ adverb

Examples of shocking in a Sentence

The number of young teenagers who smoke is shocking. a shocking waste of money The building is in a shocking state.
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Recent Examples on the Web The 93rd Oscars went hostless again for the third consecutive year, but that didn’t stop shocking and history making moments. Kemberlie Spivey, Forbes, "Top Five Buzziest Moments From The Oscars 2021," 26 Apr. 2021 Their story — shocking and deeply moving — was the subject of a recent Boston Globe story by Meghan Irons detailing their reunion., "Tito Jackson’s fortunate adoption search," 25 Apr. 2021 Derek Chauvin's killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a shocking and disturbing experience for so many people. Maxine Waters, Star Tribune, "Maxine Waters: Those targeting my words in Minnesota distort the truth," 23 Apr. 2021 And the exhaustion is worsened after a shocking and time-consuming investigation like the mass shooting at FedEx. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, "Even in a year of so much death, FedEx shooting is hard for coroner's workers to bear," 23 Apr. 2021 After coming in having scored 17 total points in high previous appearances on 27.8% shooting, his incendiary start was equal parts shocking and revelatory. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Extremely short-handed Utah Jazz throw the kitchen sink out there in overtime loss to Lakers," 17 Apr. 2021 Janne does not credit the success of her account to advanced video editing skills or social media strategy – but rather to the sheer shocking and upsetting nature of Erik and Lyle’s testimony. Erin Murtha, ABC News, "The Menendez brothers are back in the zeitgeist thanks to teens on TikTok: Reporter’s notebook," 31 Mar. 2021 Biden firing those staffers who admitted to previous cannabis use was pretty shocking even considering his stance on legalization. Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, "Steve DeAngelo, the ‘Father of Legal Cannabis,’ on What’s Next for the Movement," 20 Apr. 2021 His performance at Texas hasn’t been totally shocking. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas' Ivan Melendez doing his best Babe Ruth imitation," 14 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shocking.' 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 shocking

1655, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for shocking

Time Traveler

The first known use of shocking was in 1655

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Statistics for shocking

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shocking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for shocking



English Language Learners Definition of shocking

: very surprising and upsetting or causing a sudden feeling of horror or disgust
chiefly British, informal : very bad


shock·​ing | \ ˈshä-kiŋ How to pronounce shocking (audio) \

Kids Definition of shocking

1 : causing surprise, horror, or disgust shocking news
2 : being intense or bright in color shocking pink boots

Other Words from shocking

shockingly adverb

Comments on shocking

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