causing, capable of causing, or liable to cause astonishment, bewilderment, or a loss of consciousness or strength: a stunning blow.
of striking beauty or excellence: What a stunning dress you're wearing!

Origin of stunning

First recorded in 1660–70; stun + -ing2
Related formsstun·ning·ly, adverb

Synonyms for stunning

1. stupefying, numbing, dumbfounding, astounding.



verb (used with object), stunned, stun·ning.

to deprive of consciousness or strength by or as if by a blow, fall, etc.: The blow to his jaw stunned him for a moment.
to astonish; astound; amaze: Her wit stunned the audience.
to shock; overwhelm: The world was stunned by the attempted assassination.
to daze or bewilder by noise.


the act of stunning.
the condition of being stunned.

Origin of stun

1250–1300; Middle English stonen, stunen (v.) < Old French estoner to shake, make resound; see astonish
Related formsun·stunned, adjective

Synonyms for stun

2, 3. See shock1. 4. stupefy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stunning

Contemporary Examples of stunning

Historical Examples of stunning

  • In the hour of triumph the government was doomed to receive a stunning blow.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • She and I have picked out a stunning design for the wedding dress.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • There is no stunning confutation of his nonsense before men and angels.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • He made the statement as if he expected it to come as a stunning surprise.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The stunning sense of deep affliction is a mercy from on high.

British Dictionary definitions for stunning



informal very attractive, impressive, astonishing, etc
Derived Formsstunningly, adverb


verb stuns, stunning or stunned (tr)

to render unconscious, as by a heavy blow or fall
to shock or overwhelm
to surprise or astound


the state or effect of being stunned

Word Origin for stun

C13 stunen, from Old French estoner to daze, stupefy, from Vulgar Latin extonāre (unattested), from Latin ex- 1 + 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 stunning



c.1300, "to daze or render unconscious" (from a blow, powerful emotion, etc.), probably a shortening of Old French estoner "to stun" (see astonish). Stunning popularized for "splendid, excellent" c.1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper