tr.v., -prised, -prisÂ·ing, -prisÂ·es.
- To encounter suddenly or unexpectedly; take or catch unawares.
- To attack or capture suddenly and without warning.
- To cause to feel wonder, astonishment, or amazement, as at something unanticipated.
- To cause (someone) to do or say something unintended.
- To elicit or detect through surprise.
- The act of surprising or the condition of being surprised.
- Something, such as an unexpected encounter, event, or gift, that surprises.
[Middle English surprisen, to overcome, from Old French surprise, feminine past participle of surprendre, to surprise : sur-, sur- + prendre, to take (from Latin prehendere, prÄ“ndere, to seize).]surpriser surÂ·pris'er n.
surprisingly surÂ·pris'ingÂ·ly adv.
SYNONYMS surprise, astonish, amaze, astound, dumbfound, flabbergast. These verbs mean to affect a person strongly as being unexpected or unusual. To surprise is to fill with often sudden wonder or disbelief as being unanticipated or out of the ordinary: â€œNever tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuityâ€ (George S. Patton). Astonish suggests overwhelming surprise: The sight of such an enormous crowd astonished us. Amaze implies astonishment and often bewilderment: The violinist's virtuosity has amazed audiences all over the world. Astound connotes shock, as from something unprecedented in one's experience: We were astounded at the beauty of the mountains. Dumbfound adds to astound the suggestion of perplexity and often speechlessness: His question dumbfounded me, and I could not respond. Flabbergast is used as a more colorful equivalent of astound, astonish, or amaze: â€œThe aldermen â€¦ were â€¦ flabbergasted; they were speechless from bewildermentâ€ (Benjamin Disraeli).