Definition of surprise noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//səˈpraɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//sərˈpraɪz//
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  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 gallery. Visitors to the gallery are in for a few surprises. Life’s full of surprises. She likes springing surprises on people. See related entries: Surprise
  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. I got 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 has been greeted with surprise. They expressed surprise at the outcome. See related entries: Surprise
  3. 3[uncountable] the use of methods that cause feelings of surprise A successful campaign should have an element of surprise. See related entries: Surprise
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘unexpected seizure of a place, or attack on troops’): from Old French, feminine past participle of surprendre, from medieval Latin superprehendere ‘seize’.Extra examples After the initial surprise I got to like the place. Bob turned up half an hour late, surprise surprise. He feigned surprise when I went up and said hello. His eyebrows rose in mock surprise. His refusal came as no surprise to his boss. I could not believe the look of surprise on his face. I had a lovely surprise when I saw Mark there. I have a little surprise for you! Imagine my surprise when I found out he wasn’t really a doctor. It was a complete surprise for me. It was with some surprise that I read of his resignation. Johnson sprung a surprise by beating the favourite in the first round. Johnson sprung a surprise by winning the first round. Much to her surprise she enjoyed the party. Roach was the surprise winner of the £10 000 first prize. She feels that the future holds few surprises. She showed no surprise at the news. She was quick to hide her surprise. The Egyptian team relied on the element of surprise to defeat their stronger opponents. The president’s remarks caused surprise and embarrassment. The storm took us completely by surprise. They launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet. Your mother’s in for a bit of a surprise when she gets home. Her letter came as a complete surprise. Life’s full of surprises. There are few surprises in this year’s budget. a surprise attack/​announcement/​visitIdioms
      surprise, surprise (informal)
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    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. See related entries: Surprise
    2. 2used when giving somebody a surprise Surprise, surprise! Look who's here! See related entries: Surprise
    take somebody/something by surprise
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    to attack or capture somebody/something unexpectedly or without warning The police took the burglars by surprise.
    take somebody by surprise
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    to happen unexpectedly so that somebody is slightly shocked; to surprise somebody His frankness took her by surprise.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: surprise

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