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

Definition of surprising

: of a nature that excites surprise

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.
Recent Examples on the Web To some who have gone through institute programs, its trajectory is less surprising. Isaac Stanley-becker, Washington Post, 24 July 2022 Perhaps the craziest part of it all is that Friday's result wasn't exactly surprising. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 23 July 2022 This news is particularly surprising, as Doc and Hope (Annette O'Toole) never had children together, which means no grandkids should be in the picture. Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 22 July 2022 Overstriding can be caused by weak glutes, which is surprising in someone whose worldview is complete ass. Outside Online, 22 July 2022 Some experts said the new result was not as surprising, given that diseases often have many pathways. Edward Chen, STAT, 18 July 2022 The reveal is slightly surprising given that the singer was not fully poised atop her throne back in 2002. Justine Browning,, 16 July 2022 From a sports-science perspective, that is hardly surprising. New York Times, 14 July 2022 This is not particularly surprising since Winget's move in attempting to revoke the trust was sophomoric — a tactic that would look terrible even in regard to a $500 debt, much less one that supposedly was in the hundreds of millions. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 11 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of surprising

1614, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About surprising

Time Traveler for surprising

Time Traveler

The first known use of surprising was in 1614

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near surprising

surprise, surprise



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for surprising

Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surprising.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for surprising


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on surprising

Nglish: Translation of surprising for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surprising for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!