startle

verb
star·​tle | \ ˈstär-tᵊl How to pronounce startle (audio) \
startled; startling\ ˈstärt-​liŋ How to pronounce startling (audio) , ˈstär-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of startle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

startle

noun

Definition of startle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from startle

Verb

startlement \ ˈstär-​tᵊl-​mənt How to pronounce startlement (audio) \ noun

Examples of startle in a Sentence

Verb

I'm sorry that I startled you. the lightning startled the children and sent them scurrying for cover

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The aim is to enable crews to react more quickly and confidently when startled. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Man Vs. Machine at 40,000 Feet," 6 Jan. 2019 The man’s actions between eruptions startled a crowd of a couple hundred people at the park’s most famous attraction. Mead Gruver, The Seattle Times, "Man who walked near boiling-hot Old Faithful geyser ticketed," 17 Sep. 2018 The deconstruction of language is breathtaking, the interrogation of symbols startling. Constance Grady, Vox, "The Alice Walker anti-Semitism controversy, explained," 20 Dec. 2018 As startling is the fact that a compromise on immigration was at hand this past June that included $23.4 billion for border security, including the wall. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Oval Office Pantomime," 11 Dec. 2018 Of course, Stylers were startled, to say the least, and took the opportunity to softly troll their favorite artist with memes and burns galore. Teen Vogue, "Harry Styles Is Getting Trolled for Double-Tweeting About "Sign of the Times"," 8 Apr. 2019 Their downhill speeds also can startle other trail users. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "Closed for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail is nearly restored — thanks to mountain bikers," 2 May 2018 McGowan said he was startled awake by three loud bangs at 6 a.m. Thursday. Fox News, "Man faces charges he threatened journalists to defend Trump," 31 Aug. 2018 Beachgoers were startled to find a dead marine mammal washed up in Manchester-by-the-Sea Thursday afternoon, officials said. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Dead porpoise washes up at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The kid startles, slams his laptop, and runs out of frame. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Vince Staples makes another dope video, this time in Google Maps," 2 Nov. 2018 Ayton, almost a month away from his 20th birthday, startles as a 7-foot, 260-pound transformer with a 7-5 wingspan who shoots, passes, dribbles, runs, slides and jumps like a wing with a post game. Paul Coro, latimes.com, "Potential No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton says he and Devin Booker could be "Shaq and Kobe 2.0" for Phoenix Suns," 18 June 2018 By the early '90s, psychiatrists treating urban residents were diagnosing sleep disorders, extreme startle responses, flashbacks, lost hope for the future, homelessness, alcoholism, suicide and even biochemical changes in the brain. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With PTSD reaching well beyond combat vets, trauma experts see need for 'healing spaces'," 18 May 2018 And by reducing wild startles, swaddling reduces night wakings. Anya Leon, PEOPLE.com, "5 Tips to Help Your Baby Be a Great Sleeper from Dr. Harvey Karp, Founder of Happiest Baby," 27 Feb. 2018 Who hasn't giggled, eliciting that startle in someone else? Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland.com, "Neighbors can help in times of fun and of fear: Sun Messages," 28 Oct. 2017 Even now, 35 years later, John Williams’ music from E.T. startles with its beauty and directness. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Philly astronaut Bluford gets his props at the Mann - and a soaring orchestral number in his honor," 26 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of startle

Verb

1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1603, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for startle

Verb

Middle English stertlen, frequentative of sterten to start

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Statistics for startle

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for startle

The first known use of startle was in 1530

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More Definitions for startle

startle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of startle

: to surprise or frighten (someone) suddenly and usually not seriously
: to move or jump suddenly because something surprises you or frightens you

startle

verb
star·​tle | \ ˈstär-tᵊl How to pronounce startle (audio) \
startled; startling

Kids Definition of startle

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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More from Merriam-Webster on startle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for startle

Spanish Central: Translation of startle

Nglish: Translation of startle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of startle for Arabic Speakers

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