American English

Definition of surprise verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//səˈpraɪz//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they surprise
    he / she / it surprises
    past simple surprised
    -ing form surprising
    jump to other results
  1. 1to make someone feel surprised surprise somebody It wouldn't surprise me if they got married soon. surprise somebody how, what, etc… It always surprises me how popular he is. surprise somebody that It surprises me that you've never sung professionally. it surprises somebody to do something Would it surprise you to know that I'm thinking of leaving?
  2. 2surprise somebody to attack, discover, etc., someone suddenly and unexpectedly The army attacked at night to surprise the rebels. We arrived home early and surprised a burglar trying to break in.
  3. Thesaurussurprisestartle amaze stun astonish take somebody aback astoundThese words all mean to make someone feel surprised.surprise to give someone the feeling that you get when something happens that you do not expect or do not understand, or something that you do expect does not happen; to make someone feel surprised:The outcome didn't surprise me at all.startle to surprise someone suddenly in a way that slightly shocks or frightens them:Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. The explosion startled the horse.amaze to surprise someone very much:The size of the Grand Canyon amazed us all.stun (somewhat informal) to surprise or shock someone so much that they cannot think clearly or speak:He stunned us with his announcement.astonish to surprise someone very much:The news astonished everyone.amaze or astonish?These two words have the same meaning and in most cases you can use either. If you are talking about something that both surprises you and makes you feel ashamed, use astonish:He was astonished by his own stupidity.take somebody aback [usually passive] (especially of something negative) to surprise or shock someone:We were taken aback by her hostile reaction.astound to surprise or shock someone very much:His arrogance astounded her.Patterns It surprises somebody/startles somebody/amazes somebody/stuns somebody/astonishes somebody/takes somebody aback/astounds somebody to be surprised/startled/amazed/stunned/astonished/astounded that… to surprise/amaze somebody what/how… It surprises/startles/amazes/stuns/astonishes/astounds somebody >to know/find/learn/see/hear that…> to be surprised/startled/stunned into (doing) something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: surprise