star·tling | \ˈstärt-liŋ, ˈstär-tᵊl-iŋ\

Definition of startling 

: causing momentary fright, surprise, or astonishment a startling discovery

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Other Words from startling

startlingly adverb

Examples of startling in a Sentence

Startling new evidence came to light during the trial. He made a startling discovery. It is a city of startling contrasts.
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Recent Examples on the Web

McConnell laid the groundwork for this moment with a startling move just hours after Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden death in February 2016. CBS News, "Man on a mission: Mitch McConnell's effort to reshape the courts," 7 July 2018 Reports of his mismanagement of the agency and misuse of taxpayer funds have surfaced with startling regularity in recent months, and spiraled into multiple investigations. Alana Abramson, Time, "EPA Head Scott Pruitt Resigns After Months of High-Profile Scandals," 5 July 2018 The characters keep us engaged, and Sulima, who doubled as cinematographer, achieves startling and frightening sequences throughout the journey. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Piano to Zanskar': Film Review | Edinburgh 2018," 5 July 2018 One of the greatest oil booms the country has ever seen was turning the area, a rural patch in the brush country south of San Antonio, into a startling and incongruous mix of cascading wealth and crushing hardship. Catherine Marfin, San Antonio Express-News, "Study: Texas ranks 43rd in child well-being," 26 June 2018 Gyllenhaal gives a startling and intricate performance as a woman who is beaten down yet wide awake, ready to pounce on any possibility of upward mobility. Joy Press, HWD, "How The Deuce Turned Its Lens on a Female Porn Auteur," 20 June 2018 The allegations, if true, suggest a startling naïveté for a longtime political operator like Manafort. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "The Odds That Robert Mueller Breaks Paul Manafort Just Went Up," 5 June 2018 In a startling diplomatic breakthrough, US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim -- a calculation that could be the young dictator's ultimate survival strategy. Jamie Tarabay, CNN, "Who is Kim Jong Un? Separating myth from fact," 5 June 2018 On his farm Tuesday, Mr. Tester reflected on his April decision to release a series of startling allegations against Dr. Jackson, the president’s nominee to lead VA who went on to withdraw from consideration. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Trump Gears Up for Battle to Oust Democrats in States He Won," 4 July 2018

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

1609, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for startling

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for startling

The first known use of startling was in 1609

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More Definitions for startling



English Language Learners Definition of startling

: very surprising, shocking, or frightening



Kids Definition of startling

: causing a moment of fright or surprise a startling noise a startling discovery

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Comments on startling

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