sudden

1 of 2

adjective

sud·​den ˈsə-dᵊn How to pronounce sudden (audio)
1
a
: happening or coming unexpectedly
a sudden shower
b
: changing angle or character all at once
a sudden drop in the ocean bottom
2
: marked by or manifesting abruptness or haste
a sudden departure
3
: made or brought about in a short time : prompt
suddenly adverb
suddenness noun

sudden

2 of 2

noun

obsolete
: an unexpected occurrence : emergency
Phrases
all of a sudden or less commonly on a sudden
: sooner than was expected : at once
Choose the Right Synonym for sudden

precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness.

precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action.

the army's precipitate withdrawal

headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought.

a headlong flight from arrest

abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony.

an abrupt refusal

impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness.

an impetuous lover proposing marriage

sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action.

flew into a sudden rage

Examples of sudden in a Sentence

Adjective a sudden change in temperature Sudden fame can be difficult to deal with. She had a sudden urge to be outside. His death was very sudden. a sudden turn in the road I was surprised by her sudden decision to quit. The director's sudden departure leaves the organization's future uncertain.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
After her father died of a sudden heart attack, Roxanne Olson raced back home to California. Mansee Khurana, NPR, 3 Apr. 2024 The deal follows pressure from Gov. Wes Moore (D), who publicly called on state legislators to work out a compromise following the collapse of the Key Bridge and the sudden closure of the Port of Baltimore, which is a major economic engine for the state. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 Earthquakes’ sudden, rapid shaking can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. Don Sweeney, Sacramento Bee, 3 Apr. 2024 The Rough Rider’s playoff success, however, came to a sudden end. Charles Baggarly, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Apr. 2024 Retinal detachment can cause a sudden increase in eye floaters. Cassie Shortsleeve, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 There is a smattering of similar case reports in medical journals in which patients experienced a sudden severe increase in blood pressure, muscle breakdown or even death. Bill Sullivan, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2024 To that end, expert dermatologists are here to answer your most pressing questions about sudden breakouts during pregnancy. Brenda Della Casa, Allure, 29 Mar. 2024 Now, all of a sudden, he’s being covered by underground rap microblogs with the intensity of UK tabloids obsessing over ex–Love Island stars and Black Premier League strikers. Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sudden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English sodain, from Anglo-French sudain, from Latin subitaneus, from subitus sudden, from past participle of subire to come up, from sub- up + ire to go — more at sub-, issue entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1558, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sudden was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sudden

Cite this Entry

“Sudden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sudden. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sudden

adjective
sud·​den
ˈsəd-ᵊn
1
a
: happening or coming unexpectedly
a sudden shower
b
: changing angle or character all at once
a sudden turn in the road
2
: marked by or showing haste
a sudden decision
3
: made or brought about in a short time
a sudden cure
suddenly adverb
suddenness
ˈsəd-ᵊn-(n)əs
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sudden

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