- to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness: Her beauty surprised me.
- to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly: We surprised the children raiding the cookie jar.
- to make an unexpected assault on (an unprepared army, fort, person, etc.).
- to elicit or bring out suddenly and without warning: to surprise the facts from the witness.
- to lead or bring unawares, as into doing something not intended: to surprise a witness into telling the truth.
- an act or instance of surprising or being surprised.
- something that surprises someone; a completely unexpected occurrence, appearance, or statement: His announcement was a surprise to all.
- an assault, as on an army or a fort, made without warning.
- a coming upon unexpectedly; detecting in the act; taking unawares.
- take by surprise,
- to come upon unawares.
- to astonish; amaze: The amount of the donation took us completely by surprise.
Origin of surprise
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for surprise
That Stone would slander the democratic, pro-Western, EuroMaidan revolution as a CIA coup is no surprise.Oliver Stone’s Latest Dictator Suckup
January 5, 2015
His surprise marriage to theater director Sophie Hunter may have broken hearts, but the squeals of delight were even louder.
The news came as a surprise even to fans of Gordon-Levitt, who was only photographed with McCauley for the first time last May.
To my own surprise, last year I started a book club, which includes writers, editors and an agent.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination
December 26, 2014
No surprise then that aside from wealthy coastal suburbs, the Democratic base has shrunk to the urban cores and college towns.Time to Bring Back the Truman Democrats
December 21, 2014
Halbert's first emotion was surprise, his second was gratification.
"Certainly, Robert," was the reply, but the lawyer's manner showed some surprise.
My reason for concealment was, that I might surprise you at the end of this voyage.
The lawyer listened with surprise to the story Robert had to tell.
But to his surprise he found that Mrs. Rushton was inclined to regard it favorably.
- to cause to feel amazement or wonder
- to encounter or discover unexpectedly or suddenly
- to capture or assault suddenly and without warning
- to present with something unexpected, such as a gift
- (foll by into) to provoke (someone) to unintended action by a trick, etcto surprise a person into an indiscretion
- (often foll by from) to elicit by unexpected behaviour or by a trickto surprise information from a prisoner
- the act or an instance of surprising; the act of taking unawares
- a sudden or unexpected event, gift, etc
- the feeling or condition of being surprised; astonishment
- (modifier) causing, characterized by, or relying upon surprisea surprise move
- take by surprise
- to come upon suddenly and without warning
- to capture unexpectedly or catch unprepared
- to astonish; amaze
Word Origin and History for surprise
late 14c., "unexpected attack or capture," from Middle French surprise "a taking unawares," from noun use of past participle of Old French surprendre "to overtake," from sur- "over" (see sur-) + prendre "to take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to grasp, seize" (see prehensile). Meaning "something unexpected" first recorded 1590s, that of "feeling caused by something unexpected" is c.1600. Meaning "fancy dish" is attested from 1708.
A Surprize is ... a dish ... which promising little from its first appearance, when open abounds with all sorts of variety. [W. King, "Cookery," 1708]
Surprise party originally was a military detachment (1841); festive sense is attested from 1858.
Idioms and Phrases with surprise
see take by surprise.