surprise


surprise
surprise vb 1 Surprise, waylay, ambush are comparable when they mean to attack unawares.
Surprise is in military as well as in general use. As a technical term it implies strategy in the disposition and movement of troops and equipment and secrecy in the operations; it need not suggest that the attack has been successful
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an army suddenly attacked within the lines which it had reckoned upon to ward off its enemy is in a military sense surprisedMaurice

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R.A.F. bombers surprised a large invasion training exercise and inflicted heavy losses— Shirer

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In more general use one may surprise a person or something he is concealing by coming on him when he is off guard
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housemaids must vanish silently if surprised at their tasks— Sackville-West

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high instincts before which our mortal nature did tremble like a guilty thing surprisedWordsworth

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Waylay commonly suggests a lying in wait on a road or highway. Sometimes it implies concealment by the roadside and an often evil intent to disturb or interfere with (as by robbery or assault)
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he was waylaid on his return from the bank

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I am waylaid by Beauty .... Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass— Millay

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Sometimes it carries no suggestion of hostility or evil intent but implies intercepting a person in his progress and detaining him
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unable any longer to bear not seeing her, he waylaid her in the street. She would not speak to him, but he insisted on speaking to her— Maugham

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riding in the park . . . Carola beheld her intended galloping furiously down the Row, and left her sister Clementina's side to waylay him— Meredith

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Ambush tends to evoke the image of would-be attackers concealed in a thicket; it is often used in reference to guerrilla warfare
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his body was brought after he had been ambushed by Indians on nearby Wolf Run— Amer. Guide Series: Pa.

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but it can be extended to other situations in which one is caught as if by an ambush (see AMBUSH n)
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the same kind of feeling ambushed me a few weeks ago— Jan Struther

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the woman clasped her hands together; the butterfly sleeves fluttered as though ambushedHarriet La Barre

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Analogous words: *catch, capture: *take, seize, grasp, grab
2 Surprise, astonish, astound, amaze, flabbergast can mean to impress one forcibly because unexpected or startling or unusual.
Surprise can mean to come upon another suddenly and with startling effect, or, more broadly, it can apply to an unexpected or unanticipated development that tends to arouse some degree of surprise, amazement, or wonder; both senses imply a lack of preparation or a reversal of what is anticipated
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her friends planned to surprise her on her birthday with a gift

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apt not only to be interested but also to be surprised by the experience life was holding in store for him— Conrad

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the morning skies . . . surprised her daily as if they were uncommon things— West

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Astonish can imply a dazing or silencing
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it is the part of men to fear and tremble, when the most mighty gods by tokens send such dreadful heralds to astonish us— Shak.

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or it may mean to surprise so greatly as to seem incredible
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while still an undergraduate . . . [he] had astonished the scientific world by his acceleration of the metamorphosis of the tadpole— Mackenzie

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the former corporal showed an astonishing grasp of military strategy and tactics— Shirer

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or sometimes merely unusual
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he . . . astonished his fellows by buying and smoking ten-cent cigars— Anderson

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Astound stresses a stunning or overwhelming emotional effect and usually implies so great a difference between what one believes possible and what one discovers to be true that one can find no precedent for it; thus, a piece of news surprises one when it is unexpected; it astonishes when one finds it hard to believe; it astounds when one cannot account for it by any previous knowledge or experience; the successful laying of the Atlantic cable astounded everybody, while its later breaks astonished no one, but after it was finally in operation, many said that no future human invention could surprise them
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astounded his congregation by putting up for sale a mulatto slave girl— Amer. Guide Series: N.Y. City

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Amaze, though it carries an implication of astonishment, stresses rather bewilderment, perplexity, or wonder
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that he should even speak to her was amazing]—but to speak with such civility— Austen

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went through agonies of jealousy and remorse, and fantasies of revenge, which amazed her with their violence— Wouk

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Flabbergast is a picturesque and often hyperbolical synonym of astonish or amaze; it suggests vividly the physical signs of a sudden dumbfounding
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a delightful letter . . . that flabbergasted me as usual with your critical knowledge— Justice Holmes

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some off-the-cuff retort that will excite the reporters but flabbergast the President's aides— Cater

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Analogous words: startle, alarm, scare (see FRIGHTEN): bewilder, nonplus, confound, dumbfound (see PUZZLE vb): *embarrass, disconcert, discomfit, rattle, faze

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • surprise — [ syrpriz ] n. f. • XVIe; « impôt extraordinaire » XIIe; de surprendre 1 ♦ Vx Action par laquelle on prend ou l on est pris à l improviste. « La Surprise de l amour », comédie de Marivaux. 2 ♦ Vx Action d attaquer à l improviste. ♢ (1549) Mod.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Surprise — is something that is unsuspected. Surprise may refer to:Unsuspected things* Surprise (emotion) * Surprise party, a party of which the honored person is not told of beforehand. * Surprise factor, the fundamental element in humor that puts a twist… …   Wikipedia

  • Surprise — ist der Name verschiedener Orte in den USA: Surprise (Arizona) Surprise (Indiana) Surprise (Kalifornien) Surprise (Nebraska) Surprise (New York) Surprise (Virginia) Surprise (Tennessee) sowie: ein Schweizer Straßenmagazin (siehe Surprise… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • surprise — Surprise. s. f. Action par laquelle on surprend. Il s est rendu maistre de cette Place par surprise. il s est servi de surprise autant que de force. c est une estrange surprise. il faut se garder des surprises des chicaneurs. Surprise, se prend… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • surprise — sur·prise n 1: a condition or situation in which a party to a proceeding is unexpectedly placed without any fault or neglect of his or her own and that entitles the party to relief (as a new trial) 2: an aspect of procedural unconscionability… …   Law dictionary

  • Surprise — Surprise, NE U.S. village in Nebraska Population (2000): 44 Housing Units (2000): 22 Land area (2000): 0.399762 sq. miles (1.035380 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.399762 sq. miles (1.035380 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • surprise — [sər prīz′, sə prīz′] vt. surprised, surprising [ME surprysen < OFr surpris, pp. of sorprendre, to surprise, take napping < sur (see SUR 1) + prendre, to take (see PRIZE2)] 1. to come upon suddenly or unexpectedly; take unawares 2. to at …   English World dictionary

  • Surprise — Sur*prise , n. [F. surprise, fr. surprendre, surpris; sur over + prendre to take, L. prehendere. See {Sur }, and {Prehensile}.] 1. The act of coming upon, or taking, unawares; the act of seizing unexpectedly; surprisal; as, the fort was taken by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Surprise — Sur*prise , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Surprised}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Surprising}.] [From {Surprise}, n.: cf. F. surprendre, p. p. surpris.] 1. To come or fall suddenly and unexpectedly; to take unawares; to seize or capture by unexpected attack. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • surprise — [n] something amazing; state of amazement abruptness, amazement, astonishment, astoundment, attack, awe, bewilderment, bombshell*, consternation, curiosity, curveball*, disappointment, disillusion, eye opener*, fortune, godsend*, incredulity,… …   New thesaurus


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