American English

Definition of shock noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, usually singular, uncountable] a strong feeling of surprise as a result of something happening, especially something unpleasant; the event that causes this feeling The news of my promotion came as a shock. He's still in a state of shock. I got a terrible shock the other day. She still hasn't gotten over the shock of seeing him again. (informal) If you think the job will be easy,you're in for a shock. Losing to the worst team in the league was a shock to the system (= it was a more of a shock because it was not expected). The team suffered a shock defeat in the first round. When I added up the cost it gave me quite a shock. see also culture shock
  2. medical
  3. 2[uncountable] a serious medical condition, usually the result of injury in which a person has lost a lot of blood and they are extremely weak She was taken to the hospital suffering from shock. He isn't seriously injured but he is in (a state of) shock. see also shell shock, toxic shock syndrome
  4. violent shaking
  5. 3[countable, uncountable] a violent shaking movement that is caused by an explosion, earthquake, etc. The shock of the explosion could be felt up to six miles away. The bumper absorbs shock on impact.
  6. from electricity
  7. 4[countable] = electric shock Don't touch that wire or you'll get a shock.
  8. of hair
  9. 5a thick mass of hair on a person's head She's a large plump woman with a shock of red hair.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shock