- 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
Synonyms for startleSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for startled
Contemporary Examples of startled
Police report that he was so startled by being tracked down so quickly that he immediately confessed.Indiana Serial Killer’s Confession Was Just the Start
October 21, 2014
As the family hunted for anything personal that could be retrieved, they were startled when the phone began to ring.Life Under Air Strikes: Children Under Fire Will Never Forget — or Forgive
August 3, 2014
Though Bates was startled by these changes, he was less alarmed by them than many naturalists are today.Exploring the Amazon, While We Still Can
May 15, 2014
The Hound takes care of the rest, and Arya, startled by her actions, picks the coin back up and whispers, “Valar Morghulis.”‘Game of Thrones’ Star Maisie Williams, aka Arya Stark, on Her Big Premiere Episode ‘Two Swords’
April 7, 2014
Louis looked at me with a startled air, but recovering himself said kindly, “Of course I renounce the—what is it I must renounce?”Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
Historical Examples of startled
She was studying her material; and it must be confessed that they startled her not a little.
Yet there had been a look on her face when she saw those two which startled and hurt him.
She had not seen the boy for two months, and the change in him startled her.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Out of the tail of his eye he could see that the rest of the Council were startled.The Trail Book
This outburst from Mrs. Porter startled the girl; it was so passionate, so vehement.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
- to be or cause to be surprised or frightened, esp so as to start involuntarily
Word Origin for startle
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.