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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-ston-ish] /əˈstɒn ɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder; amaze:
Her easy humor and keen intellect astonished me.
Origin of astonish
dialectal Old French
1525-35; Middle English astonyen, astonen, probably < dialectal Old French *astoner, Old French estoner < Vulgar Latin *extonāre, for Latin attonāre to strike with lightning, equivalent to ex- ex-1, at- at- + tonāre to thunder; extended by -ish2, perhaps reflecting Anglo-French *astonir < dialectal Old French
Related forms
astonishedly, adverb
astonisher, noun
superastonish, verb
unastonished, adjective
astound, startle, shock. See surprise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for astonish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Germans know, and that is the card with which they are going to astonish the world.'

    Greenmantle John Buchan
  • He is tremendously proud of his wings—and they certainly are wings to astonish.

  • So I sing like a bateau full of voyageurs, and the dark echo, and that vild-cat must be astonish.

    The Skeleton On Round Island Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • Sometimes, to astonish, and attract by novelty, the arena was converted into a wood.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • Perhaps the musical genius which his father will not bring before the world in himself may one day astonish that world in Sigmund.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • She was a restless, headstrong girl, even then, who liked to astonish her friends.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
British Dictionary definitions for astonish


(transitive) to fill with amazement; surprise greatly
Word Origin
C15: from earlier astonyen (see astonied), from Old French estoner, from Vulgar Latin extonāre (unattested) to strike with thunder, from Latin tonāre to thunder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for astonish

c.1300, astonien, from Old French estoner "to stun, daze, deafen, astound," from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex- "out" + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder); so, literally "to leave someone thunderstruck." The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, e.g. distinguish, diminish) is attested from c.1530.

No wonder is thogh that she were astoned [Chaucer, "Clerk's Tale"]
Related: Astonished; astonishing; astonishingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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