sur·​pris·​ing | \sər-ˈprī-ziŋ, 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

France's romp through the World Cup is something that many before the tournament saw coming but Croatia's run has been significantly more surprising., "World Cup Daily Podcast: France and Croatia's Vastly Different Runs to the World Cup Final," 11 July 2018 Not sure which stat is more surprising: The Marlins had 19 straight singles on Sunday to break a 14-game losing streak to Washington and salvage a game in their series. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Would Carmelo Anthony really help the Heat?," 9 July 2018 Turchetta tells Povoledo that the area the tomb was found in has been heavily surveyed and excavated in the past, so finding the intact chamber was surprising and emotional. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Construction Workers Find Rare Intact Roman Tomb," 13 June 2018 Hermione Lodge from Riverdale, which this writer didn’t realize until researching for this piece, proving this movie is still surprising fans to this day. Jen Juneau,, "10 Reasons Why Can't Hardly Wait Is the Most Underrated Teen Movie of the '90s," 12 June 2018 Perhaps none is more surprising than the inclusion of the Rev. James Martin, an American Jesuit scheduled to deliver a presentation on welcoming LGBT Catholics and their families into parishes. NBC News, "Vatican-backed family rally expected to have speech on lesbian and gay faithful," 12 June 2018 For a film that so clearly relies on its predecessor for inspiration, the relatively small number of cameos was somewhat surprising. Laura Bradley, HWD, "Ocean’s 8 Director Explains Why He Cut Matt Damon, Carl Reiner Cameos," 11 June 2018 Hillsong’s very conservative views aren’t that surprising, given the fact that Hailey’s father, Stephen Baldwin, is a pretty active Trump supporter. Mariah Smith, The Cut, "Like Everything, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s Relationship Is Connected to the Kardashians," 11 July 2018 Even her choice to wear that particular shade of lipstick in the first place—a bold red with blue undertones and matte finish—was relatively surprising. Amanda Fitzsimons, Glamour, "It’s 2018, and Female Candidates Are Tweeting About Lipstick. Is This Progress?," 1 July 2018

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

10 Nov 2018

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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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