American English

Definition of surprise noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//səˈpraɪz//
    jump to other results
  1. 1[countable] an event, a piece of news, etc. that is unexpected or that happens suddenly What a nice surprise! a surprise attack There are few surprises in this year's budget. I have a surprise for you! It comes as no surprise to learn that they broke their promises. Her letter came as a complete surprise. There are lots of surprises in store for visitors to the new exhibit. Visitors to the new exhibit are in for a few surprises. Life's full of surprises. She likes springing surprises on people.
  2. 2[uncountable, countable] a feeling caused by something happening suddenly or unexpectedly a look of surprise She looked up in surprise. surprise (at something) He gasped with surprise at her strength. surprise (at seeing, hearing, etc.) They couldn't conceal their surprise at seeing us together. Igot a surprise when I saw the bill. Much to my surprise, I passed. To everyone's surprise, the plan succeeded. Imagine our surprise when he walked into the room! The decision was greeted with surprise. They expressed surprise at the outcome.
  3. 3[uncountable] the use of methods that cause feelings of surprise A successful campaign should have an element of surprise.
  4. Idioms
      surprise, surprise (informal)
      jump to other results
    1. 1(ironic) (often disapproving) used to show that something is not a surprise to you, as you could easily have predicted that it would happen or be true One of the candidates was the manager's niece, and surprise, surprise, she got the job.
    2. 2used when giving someone a surprise Surprise, surprise! Look who's here!
    take somebody/something by surprise
    jump to other results
    to attack or capture someone or something unexpectedly or without warning The police took the burglars by surprise.
    take somebody by surprise
    jump to other results
    to happen unexpectedly so that someone is slightly shocked; to surprise someone His frankness took her by surprise.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: surprise

Other results

All matches