causing astonishment or surprise; amazing: an astonishing victory; an astonishing remark.

Origin of astonishing

First recorded in 1520–30; astonish + -ing2
Related formsas·ton·ish·ing·ly, adverbas·ton·ish·ing·ness, noun



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

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 formsas·ton·ished·ly, adverbas·ton·ish·er, nounsu·per·as·ton·ish, verbun·as·ton·ished, adjective

Synonyms for astonish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for astonishing

Contemporary Examples of astonishing

Historical Examples of astonishing

  • Then with astonishing clearness he saw her hand resting against her breast.

  • There is one astonishing instance of this towards the end of the drama.

  • I am all impatience to hear how this astonishing change was effected.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • It's astonishing how people forget the vital things, and remember trifles.

  • It was astonishing how quickly he blushed, how dark red his face became.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for astonishing



causing great surprise or amazement; astounding
Derived Formsastonishingly, adverb



(tr) to fill with amazement; surprise greatly

Word Origin for astonish

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

Word Origin and History for astonishing



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