surprise

noun
sur·​prise | \ sər-ˈprīz How to pronounce surprise (audio) , sə-\
variants: or less commonly surprize

Definition of surprise

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an attack made without warning
b : a taking unawares
2 : something that surprises
3 : the feeling caused by something unexpected or unusual

surprise

verb
variants: or less commonly surprize
surprised also surprized; surprising also surprizing

Definition of surprise (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to attack unexpectedly also : to capture by an unexpected attack
2a : to take unawares Police surprised the burglars in the store.
b : to detect or elicit by a taking unawares … sometimes surprised a tragic shadow in her eyes.— Willa Cather
3 : to strike with wonder or amazement especially because unexpected His conduct surprised me.

intransitive verb

: to cause astonishment or surprise Her success didn't surprise.

Surprise

geographical name
Sur·​prise | \ sər-ˈprīz How to pronounce Surprise (audio) \

Definition of Surprise (Entry 3 of 3)

city in south central Arizona west of Phoenix population 117,517

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Other Words from surprise

Verb

surpriser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for surprise

Verb

surprise, astonish, astound, amaze, flabbergast mean to impress forcibly through unexpectedness. surprise stresses causing an effect through being unexpected but not necessarily unusual or novel. surprised to find them at home astonish implies surprising so greatly as to seem incredible. a discovery that astonished the world astound stresses the shock of astonishment. too astounded to respond amaze suggests an effect of bewilderment. amazed by the immense size of the place flabbergast may suggest thorough astonishment and bewilderment or dismay. flabbergasted by his angry refusal

Verb

surprise, astonish, and amaze mean to impress forcibly by being unexpected, startling, or unusual. surprise is used when something is unexpected even though it by itself is not startling. A sudden storm surprised the hikers. astonish means to surprise very much with something that is hard or impossible to believe. The first airplanes astonished people. amaze is used when something causes a person to wonder and puzzle over it. The magician amazed the children.

Examples of surprise in a Sentence

Noun

What a pleasant surprise to see you! It's no surprise that he doesn't want to go. Is it any surprise that she should feel disappointed? The teacher sprang a surprise on us and gave a pop quiz. I have a special surprise for the children. The trip was a surprise for her birthday. Is the party a surprise? Imagine our surprise when they sold their house and moved to the Bahamas. He stared at her in surprise.

Verb

The results will surprise you. Nothing you could say would surprise me. They surprised everyone by moving to the Bahamas. A police officer surprised the burglars. The troops were surprised by an attack from the north.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It’s no surprise that Uzi would be one of the first to wear Pharrell’s chromatic new capsule collection, which debuted last month. Vogue, "Of Course Lil Uzi Vert Is the First to Wear Chanel's Hottest New Collaboration," 20 May 2019 As Archie and the gang continued to take down the Farm, the real identity of the Gargoyle King was finally revealed and the Farm ended up being nowhere to be found when the FBI came in (with a special surprise for Betty). Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "All of The Craziest Reactions to "Riverdale"'s Season 3 Finale," 16 May 2019 This doesn't come as much of a surprise, given that it is based on BMW componentry, but the revived Supra follows in the BMW tradition of delivering far better performance than its claimed power, and thus power-to-weight ratio, would suggest. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "We Test the 2020 Toyota Supra: Zero to 60 in 3.8 Seconds," 14 May 2019 Now with their newborn son Archie at home and their first anniversary only days away, here's a comprehensive timeline of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's relationship, with plenty of sweet surprises along the way. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "A Timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Relationship," 8 May 2019 As the series said goodbye to two incredibly talented performers, the American Idol alum made her on-camera surprise clear as day. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Caught Kelly Clarkson Reacting to the Eliminations in the Most Shocking Way," 27 Apr. 2019 An even bigger surprise was that Bey also dropped a massive album with 40 tracks from her two weekend-long headlining performances. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Cut Out Carbs, Sugar, Dairy, Meat, Fish, and Alcohol from Her Pre-Coachella Diet," 19 Apr. 2019 What does come as a surprise is the piece of jewelry casually resting on her ring finger. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Who Is Issa Rae's Boyfriend Louis Diame, the Man Who May Also Be Her Fiancé?," 26 Mar. 2019 Just two days after Luke Perry's death at age 52, his two children, Jack and Sophie, have posted on their social media accounts to give tribute to their father — and to express their surprise and agony at the shocking tragedy. Kaitlin Menza, Woman's Day, "Luke Perry's Children Posted Tributes to Their Dad on Instagram," 6 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But, her appearance at the 2019 Met Gala had the model embracing a camp-inspired style that left us totally surprised, and stunned. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Wore White Lashes to the Met Gala 2019," 7 May 2019 Microsoft surprised the world by releasing the surprisingly good Surface Headphones last October. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft could challenge Apple's AirPods with wireless Surface earbuds," 15 Apr. 2019 Furthermore, breakthroughs in a field can often surprise even other researchers in the field. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 Poland is the favorite, but Seegal can surprise and this has been a World Cup of surprises so far. CBS News, "2018 World Cup: How to watch Tuesday's matches, scores and updates," 19 June 2018 In the latest episode of Houzz's My Houzz series, the supermodel surprises Christie with a secret renovation of her Florida home in honor of National Siblings Day. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Kate Upton Just Secretly Renovated Her Sister's Home," 10 Apr. 2019 Which shouldn’t surprise anybody as the Flyers continue to chase a playoff opportunity that, by all logic, has no business existing. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Former Everett Silvertips goalie Carter Hart putting on one-man show to keep Philadelphia Flyers in playoff hunt," 11 Feb. 2019 Shouldn't surprise anyone The New Yorker ran this piece. Fox News, "Tucker takes on Kavanaugh opponent; Martha MacCallum's takeaways from interview with Kavanaugh," 25 Sep. 2018 The general Republican subservience to Trump on immigration shouldn’t surprise us. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Laura Bush condemns Trump’s family separation policy, but will the GOP listen?," 18 June 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for surprise

Noun

Middle English suppryse exaction, seizure, from Anglo-French sousprise, supprise, from feminine of supris, surpris, suspris, past participle of surprendre & susprendre to capture, take by surprise, from sur- & sus-, suz under + prendre to take — more at prize, sous

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Statistics for surprise

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surprise

The first known use of surprise was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for surprise

surprise

noun

English Language Learners Definition of surprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an unexpected event, piece of information, etc.
: an unexpected gift, party, etc.
: the feeling caused by something that is unexpected or unusual

surprise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of surprise (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel surprised
: to find, attack, or meet (someone or something) unexpectedly

surprise

noun
sur·​prise | \ sər-ˈprīz How to pronounce surprise (audio) , sə-ˈprīz\

Kids Definition of surprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is unexpected I have a surprise for you.
2 : astonishment, amazement … it held up to them a little white object. They all looked at it in surprise— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
3 : an act or instance of coming upon without warning They were taken by surprise.

surprise

verb
surprised; surprising

Kids Definition of surprise (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause to feel wonder or amazement because of being unexpected Her resemblance to her father surprised me.
2 : to come upon without warning The robbers were surprised by police.
3 : to attack without warning : capture by an unexpected attack

surprise

noun
sur·​prise

Legal Definition of surprise

1 : a condition or situation in which a party to a proceeding is unexpectedly placed without any fault or neglect of his or her own and that entitles the party to relief (as a new trial)
2 : an aspect of procedural unconscionability that consists of hiding a term of a contract in a mass of text

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Comments on surprise

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one that collects or salvages junk

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