Why was clemency trending last week?


[uh-gast, uh-gahst] /əˈgæst, əˈgɑst/
struck with overwhelming shock or amazement; filled with sudden fright or horror:
They stood aghast at the sight of the plane crashing.
Origin of aghast
1225-75; Middle English agast frightened, past participle of agasten, equivalent to a- a-3 + gasten, Old English gǣstan to frighten, earlier *gāstjan < Germanic causative *gaistjan; see ghost Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for aghast
  • Nuclear experts on both sides of the debate are aghast at such comparisons.
  • The audience was incredulous and aghast.
  • The salesman stood on the sidewalk, aghast as the car rolled down the hill with me trapped between the seats.
  • Other delegates were aghast at statistics that showed the global imbalance of current applicants.
  • I'm aghast and extremely disappointed at this grade-school level of reporting.
  • Many, especially in banks and government departments, are aghast at the sheer volume of ancient code.
  • She did as instructed and was suitably aghast at the grime on her hands.
  • They are passers-by staring, aghast, at a fabulous piece of antique jewelry.
  • There they watched aghast as the tsunami claimed their town.
  • Guys, I'm aghast that the topic of conversation has entirely overlooked the major issues at hand presented by this article.
British Dictionary definitions for aghast


(postpositive) overcome with amazement or horror
Word Origin
C13: agast, from Old English gæstan to frighten. The spelling with gh is on the model of ghastly
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for aghast

c.1300, agast, "terrified," past participle of Middle English agasten "to frighten" (c.1200), from a- intensive prefix + Old English gæstan "to terrify," from gæst "spirit, ghost" (see ghost). The -gh- spelling appeared early 15c. in Scottish and is possibly a Flemish influence, or after ghost, etc. It became general after 1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for aghast

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for aghast

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with aghast

Nearby words for aghast