startle

[ stahr-tl ]
/ ˈstɑr tl /

verb (used with object), star·tled, star·tling.

to disturb or agitate suddenly as by surprise or alarm.
to cause to start involuntarily, by or as by a sudden shock.

verb (used without object), star·tled, star·tling.

to start involuntarily, as from a shock of surprise or alarm.

noun

a sudden shock of surprise, alarm, or the like.
something that startles.

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Origin of startle

before 1100; Middle English stertlen to rush, caper, equivalent to stert(en) to start + -(e)len -le, or continuing Old English steartlian to kick, struggle

OTHER WORDS FROM startle

star·tle·ment, nounstar·tler, nounout·star·tle, verb (used with object), out·star·tled, out·star·tling.un·star·tled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for startle

British Dictionary definitions for startle

startle
/ (ˈstɑːtəl) /

verb

to be or cause to be surprised or frightened, esp so as to start involuntarily

Derived forms of startle

startler, noun

Word Origin for startle

Old English steartlian to stumble; related to Middle High German starzen to strut, Norwegian sterta to strain oneself
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