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

Modern Family has moved from one surprising plot twist to another. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, ""Modern Family" Revealed Major News for Sarah Hyland's Character Haley," 8 Nov. 2018 Perhaps Chiuri’s swishy plissé gowns were a nod to those performances, but the kaleidoscopes were a more conceptual, surprising twist. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Maria Grazia Chiuri Shares the Making of Dior’s Couture-Grade Tie-Dye Gowns," 28 Sep. 2018 Their history has surprising twists and turns, like anti-fraternity laws that nearly pushed Greek life off campus. Phil Edwards, Vox, "Why colleges tolerate fraternities," 24 Sep. 2018 Robinhood’s decision to add Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash is not surprising as the currencies come with little regulatory risk, based on recent guidance from the SEC. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Robinhood Adds Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin in Push to Expand Crypto," 12 July 2018 This is not surprising, said Jeukendrup, the scientist behind the cycling study. New York Times, "That Spitting Thing at the World Cup? It’s Probably ‘Carb Rinsing’," 11 July 2018 The gap between the officers' perception and what happened in the room is not surprising, former police officer and Bowling Green State University criminal justice professor Phil Stinson said. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "NC cops thought a man shot at them. Investigators say something else happened.," 11 July 2018 Which is not surprising, because of major employers in Boise including state government, St. Luke's Health System, Micron, Albertsons and J.R. Simplot. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "Stuck in traffic jams, asking who's to blame? The answer depends on who you ask.," 9 July 2018 What isn't surprising at all is that Oak Creek won the Greater Metro Conference regular-season title this year. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are the 5 things to watch for as the final WIAA summer baseball playoffs begin this week," 9 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

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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