- creating sudden alarm, surprise, or wonder; astonishing.
Origin of startling
- to disturb or agitate suddenly as by surprise or alarm.
- to cause to start involuntarily, by or as by a sudden shock.
- to start involuntarily, as from a shock of surprise or alarm.
- a sudden shock of surprise, alarm, or the like.
- something that startles.
Origin of startle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for startling
So this startling move towards Internet censorship should come as no surprise.The UK’s War on Porn: ‘Proof That Men Making These Rules Do Not See Women as Equals’
December 6, 2014
Some of the concern over student debt is likely driven by the startling headline numbers.The Student Loan Crisis That Isn’t About Kids at Harvard
November 30, 2014
Cirque du Soleil obviously sprang to startling success with a variety of shows since its 1987 founding.We’re All Carnies Now: Why We Can’t Quit the Circus
November 27, 2014
For many governments, corporations, and individuals, these numbers are startling.Why Isn't Silicon Valley Doing More to Fight Ebola?
October 8, 2014
It really is startling that not one fragment of an airplane that weighed 250 tons has yet turned up.MH370 Debris Is Lost Forever, Can the Plane Be Found Without It?
September 7, 2014
But this was not so startling as what it showed in the foreground.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Grace and a miracle had made the startling fact palpable and evident.
Now, without warning, a startling transformation was wrought.
At the dread word, a startling change was wrought in the girl.
This is a startling statement, but it is fully warranted by the facts.Flying Machines
W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
- causing surprise or fear; striking; astonishing
- to be or cause to be surprised or frightened, esp so as to start involuntarily
Word Origin and History for startling
c.1300, "run to and fro," frequentative of sterten (see start (v.)). Sense of "move suddenly in surprise or fear" first recorded 1520s. Transitive meaning "frighten suddenly" is from 1590s. The word retains more of the original meaning of start (v.). Related: Startled; startling.