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 lyrics are about him, about his store, which should be surprising but isn’t. Dan Horn,, "How moving a man and his store out of OTR proved worthy of song," 17 Sep. 2019 This is surprising as he was born into a feral cat colony, a group of cats who live outside and avoid humans., "A stray kitten with a serious heart condition is going under the knife this week, and the MSPCA is raising money to help with the costs of the lifesaving operation, officials said.," 17 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The rarity of pacts in British politics is in some ways surprising. The Economist, "How pacts and tactical voting could sway the coming British election," 14 Sep. 2019 The results in Bridgeport were not as shocking — incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim fended off a challenge from state Sen. Marilyn Moore — but his narrow margin of victory was surprising. Russell Blair,, "Capitol Week in Review: Surprises and snoozers in municipal primaries," 13 Sep. 2019 What was surprising, though, was Tana's response to the blatant rejection. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The Complete Timeline of Tana Mongeau and Billie Eilish's Complicated and Hilarious Friendship," 10 Sep. 2019 Most happened between November and February, and most hit the ocean—which is surprising because some 90% of all lightning strikes land. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "The world’s strongest lightning hits—not in summer—but from November to February," 9 Sep. 2019 The entire plot is played out in one act – a fact that is, at first, surprising because everything moves along so quickly. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Review: So many layers in Los Altos Stage Company’s ‘Admissions’," 9 Sep. 2019 Also surprising was the discovery these hybrids are fertile. Miguel Conde, National Geographic, "Hundreds of wild parrots are thriving in this Brazilian city," 6 Sep. 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

13 Oct 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).


to be made up of

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