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

The loss was not particularly surprising—McCready, a centrist to the core, was not an invigorating candidate, droning on about crossing the aisle and failing to offer policy proposals that could be described as exciting to voters. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "North Carolina Sends Democrats a Wake-Up Call," 12 Sep. 2019 Apple did not switch to a USB-C port here as it's done with its higher-end iPad Pros, though that's not surprising with a cheaper tablet like this. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Surprise! Apple unveils its 7th-gen iPad with a 10.2-inch display," 10 Sep. 2019 The series is sweeping and intimate, excellently written, consistently surprising. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "Three Podcasts to Listen to in September," 10 Sep. 2019 That's not hugely surprising given that former TV critic Greenwald is a newcomer to the TV creating business (even with much more established Sam Esmail as a guiding executive producer). Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Briarpatch': TV Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 Yet even more surprising than the building’s past is its current role within Quebec City’s cultural sphere. Fortune, "This Is Quebec City’s Only Library with English Books—Housed in a Former Jail," 7 Sep. 2019 The solid numbers are a little surprising — football fans like watching entertaining games, and this wasn't one. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "The NFL kicks off to big ratings in a big year for the league," 6 Sep. 2019 What the investigator, Jonathan Goodman, found might be more surprising. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "Secret frats, and what else to look out for during college fraternity rush," 5 Sep. 2019 Italy’s geologic weirdness The presence of six more volcanoes around Italy is perhaps not all that surprising, since these fiery features dot the landscape. National Geographic, "Six underwater volcanoes found hiding in plain sight," 2 Aug. 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

15 Sep 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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