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startle

[ stahr-tl ]
/ ˈstɑr tl /
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See synonyms for: startle / startled / startling on Thesaurus.com

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

First recorded before 1100; Middle English stertlen “to rush, caper,” equivalent to stert(en) “to begin, start” (see start + -(e)len-le, or continuing Old English steartlian “to kick, struggle”
1. See shock1.
star·tle·ment, nounstartler, nounoutstartle, 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. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for startle

startle
/ (ˈstɑːtəl) /

verb

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