1

startle

verb star·tle \ ˈstär-tᵊl \

Definition of startle

startled; startling play \ˈstärt-liŋ, ˈstär-tᵊl-iŋ\
intransitive verb
:to move or jump suddenly (as in surprise or alarm)
  • the baby startles easily
transitive verb
:to frighten or surprise suddenly and usually not seriously

startlement

play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of startle in a Sentence

  1. I'm sorry that I startled you.

  2. the lightning startled the children and sent them scurrying for cover

Recent Examples of startle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'startle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of startle

Middle English stertlen, frequentative of sterten to start


2

startle

noun

Definition of startle

:a sudden mild shock (as of surprise or alarm)

Recent Examples of startle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'startle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of startle

1603


STARTLE Defined for English Language Learners

startle

verb

Definition of startle for English Language Learners

  • : to surprise or frighten (someone) suddenly and usually not seriously

  • : to move or jump suddenly because something surprises you or frightens you


STARTLE Defined for Kids

startle

verb star·tle \ ˈstär-tᵊl \

Definition of startle for Students

startled; startling
1 :to move or jump (as in surprise or fear)
  • The cat startles easily.
2 :to frighten suddenly but slightly A knock on the window startled her.


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