star·​tling | \ ˈstärt-liŋ How to pronounce startling (audio) , 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

But a startling new report by Reuters suggests otherwise. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Johnson & Johnson accused of hiding the asbestos in its baby powder for decades," 14 Dec. 2018 The Pentagon warned in a startling new report that China is likely training for bombing strikes against U.S. targets, while developing its nuclear capabilities. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Pentagon warns China training for strikes on US targets," 17 Aug. 2018 And every once in a while, human and natural events align in startling ways. Christopher Reynolds,, "Sitting in the palm of nature: The unique energy — and performances — of Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre," 12 July 2018 Tuck some money away now The waiting is terrifying Good to know Good job, Mom A startling new chapter Like All the Moms? Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "The daily, relatable #momproblems that will make you laugh so you don't cry," 1 July 2018 Researchers in New Zealand made a startling discovery when looking through leopard seal scat: a fully functioning USB stick. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Leopard Seal Poops Out USB Drive, Confusing Scientists," 5 Feb. 2019 In 1961, the government finally allowed its publication; among other startling revelations, the report disclosed details of a German plot to interfere in the 1940 presidential election. Bradley W. Hart, WSJ, "Five Best: Bradley W. Hart on the War Before World War II," 18 Jan. 2019 Even more startling than the actual breakup is the reasoning behind it, which is…. Archie making a logical decision? Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Has Some Very Bad News for Varchie Fans," 29 Nov. 2018 That affidavit, however, contained a startling revelation. USA TODAY, "Priest accused in 124 Guam sex abuse cases ages quietly, alone," 5 May 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

3 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

What made you want to look up startling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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