a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.

Origin of consternation

First recorded in 1605–15, consternation is from the Latin word consternātiōn- (stem of consternātiō). See consternate, -ion

Synonyms for consternation

Antonyms for consternation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for consternation

Contemporary Examples of consternation

Historical Examples of consternation

  • A look of surprise, mingled with consternation, sprang into Grace's eyes.

  • What consternation and grief there would be throughout the world!

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • Temporarily dumb with consternation, he returned her stare as silently.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • He stared in consternation at the pallid oval that stood for her face.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • All the guests were now in consternation, and everybody rose.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for consternation



a feeling of anxiety, dismay, dread, or confusion
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 consternation

1610s, from French consternation "dismay, confusion," from Latin consternationem (nominative consternatio) "confusion, dismay," from consternat-, past participle stem of consternare "overcome, confuse, dismay, perplex, terrify, alarm," probably related to consternere "throw down, prostrate," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + sternere "to spread out" (see stratum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper