amaze, astonish, surprise

Amaze means "to bewilder," "to perplex," "to astound," "to stun." Its meaning can be recalled by thinking that to be amazed is to be "lost in a maze": "I thought you were dead; your reappearance amazes me." Astonish means "to strike with sudden fear or wonder." To be astonished is to be dazed or silenced, to be "turned to stone." Surprise means "to take unawares." We are amazed at what seems extremely difficult, impossible, or improbable; we are surprised by the merely unexpected or unanticipated; we are astonished when our surprise is so great as to silence or daze us. Paralyzing (numbing) shock is implied by astound and its colloquial equivalent, flabbergast. A story is told of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English author and lexicographer. His wife unexpectedly came upon him kissing a household maid and said,"I am surprised." Dr. Johnson reportedly replied,"No, Madam; I am surprised; you are astonished."

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • astonish — See amaze. See amaze, astonish, surprise …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • surprise — See amaze. See amaze, astonish, surprise …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • amaze — See amaze, astonish, surprise …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • Amaze — A*maze , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Amazed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Amazing}.] [Pref. a + maze.] 1. To bewilder; to stupefy; to bring into a maze. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] A labyrinth to amaze his foes. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To confound, as by fear, wonder,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Astonish — As*ton ish, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Astonished}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Astonishing}.] [OE. astonien, astunian, astonen, OF. estoner, F. [ e]tonner, fr. L. ex out + tonare to thunder, but perhaps influenced by E. stun. See {Thunder}, {Astound}, {Astony}.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • astonish — [ə stän′ish] vt. [altered < ME astonien < OFr estoner < VL * extonare (for L attonare) < ex , intens. + tonare, to THUNDER] to fill with sudden wonder or great surprise; amaze SYN. SURPRISE astonishing adj. astonishingly adv …   English World dictionary

  • amaze — vb astound, flabbergast, astonish, *surprise Analogous words: dumbfound, bewilder, confound, nonplus (see PUZZLE): impress, touch, strike, *affect …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • astonish — *surprise, astound, amaze, flabbergast Analogous words: nonplus, dumbfound, bewilder, confound (see PUZZLE): impress, strike, touch, *affect …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • amaze — [v] surprise affect, alarm, astonish, astound, bewilder, blow away*, blow one’s mind*, bowl over*, daze, dumbfound, electrify, flabbergast*, impress, move, perplex, put one away*, shock, stagger, startle, strike, stun, stupefy, touch*; concept 42 …   New thesaurus

  • amaze — ► VERB ▪ surprise greatly; astonish. DERIVATIVES amazement noun. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

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