sur·​pris·​ing | \ sər-ˈprī-ziŋ How to pronounce surprising (audio) , sə-\

Definition of surprising

: of a nature that excites surprise

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Examples of surprising in a Sentence

It's not surprising that he doesn't want to go. The changes to the campus were surprising. He shows a surprising lack of concern for others. A surprising number of people were laid off at the factory.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As the KarJenners know better than anyone, just because there's drama, doesn't mean business should stop, so Kylie's behavior isn't surprising. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything to Know About the Alleged Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner Cheating Scandal," 4 Mar. 2019 The only concrete theme throughout their work—in all degrees of scale and permanence—is twisting the familiar into something surprising and delightful. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Play it forward," 18 July 2018 That news may seem surprising, but Drew and Jonathan haven't shied away from breaking down the realities of their reality TV show. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "The Crazy Secret Behind Those "Out Of Budget" Homes On Property Brothers," 16 July 2018 And earlier this year, Science reported the surprising discovery of naturally occurring ice-VII lurking in diamonds mined from deep in Earth's mantle. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Weird water phase “ice-VII” can grow as fast as 1,000 miles per hour," 24 Oct. 2018 Archaeologists in Egypt made a surprising discovery dating back more 2,500 years near the country's famed pyramids south of Cairo. Fox News, "Archaeologists in Egypt discover ancient mummification workshop," 2 Oct. 2018 Elgin-area union officials called this week’s Supreme Court decision to overturn mandatory union fee collection from public workers disappointing but not necessarily surprising. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "'We pretty much knew it was coming': Elgin-area union officials disappointed in Supreme Court's Janus decision," 28 June 2018 Simply integrating one assistant with another appears to have taken a surprising amount of work—a full year, with Microsoft showing off the latest integration at this year’s Build conference. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Alexa, Cortana officially become BFFs as Microsoft and Amazon integrate the two assistants," 15 Aug. 2018 The royal's shoutout is surprising, considering she's kept a low profile on the social media site. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Beatrice Offers to Be Chrissy Teigen's Goddaughter on Twitter," 22 Feb. 2019

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

1614, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for surprising

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for surprising

The first known use of surprising was in 1614

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More Definitions for surprising



English Language Learners Definition of surprising

: unexpected or unusual : causing surprise


sur·​pris·​ing | \ sər-ˈprī-ziŋ, sə-ˈprī-ziŋ\

Kids Definition of surprising

: causing astonishment : unexpected Although some things were always the same with Abuelita … others were surprising— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

Other Words from surprising

surprisingly adverb He is a surprisingly good singer.

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Comments on surprising

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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