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 Analysts believe one takeaway from the surprising data is that migrants are able to promptly prioritize supporting their families during difficult times. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "Coronavirus surprise: Remittances to Mexico rise during pandemic," 6 Aug. 2020 While the timing of Tuesday's announcement may have been surprising, no one should have been surprised that Farley was taking the job. CNN, "Ford turns to a 'car guy' to lead the company into the future," 4 Aug. 2020 Even with the absence of Bogdanovic, as mentioned, the Jazz shooting the ball so poorly is surprising. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Utah Jazz must find what’s been lost in their restart... and soon," 4 Aug. 2020 This news is not surprising to us, given what our clients have reported to us about conditions inside. Daniel Gonzalez, USA TODAY, "More than 40% of staff at large Arizona detention center positive for COVID-19, operators say," 10 July 2020 These headaches are not surprising to experts like Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, "How North Carolina Transformed Itself Into the Worst State to Be Unemployed," 30 June 2020 That's right, Azula is only 14 throughout the entire series, which might be surprising to some. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Here Are the Real Ages of the Characters of "Avatar: The Last Airbender"," 26 June 2020 The deadlock in California is not surprising to Chris Grove, a gambling industry analyst and partner with Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, which has advised the Legislature on the issue. Los Angeles Times, "California lawmakers shelve effort this year to legalize sports betting," 23 June 2020 This sort of back-and-forth over science isn’t surprising to most, or new. Gianluca Russo,, "The Dangers Of Fat-Shaming COVID-19 Victims," 19 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for surprising

Time Traveler

The first known use of surprising was in 1614

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Statistics for surprising

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surprising.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for surprising


How to pronounce surprising (audio)

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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