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[uh-ston-ish] /əˈstɒn ɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder; amaze:
Her easy humor and keen intellect astonished me.
Origin of astonish
dialectal Old French
1525-35; Middle English astonyen, astonen, probably < dialectal Old French *astoner, Old French estoner < Vulgar Latin *extonāre, for Latin attonāre to strike with lightning, equivalent to ex- ex-1, at- at- + tonāre to thunder; extended by -ish2, perhaps reflecting Anglo-French *astonir < dialectal Old French
Related forms
astonishedly, adverb
astonisher, noun
superastonish, verb
unastonished, adjective
astound, startle, shock. See surprise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for astonish
  • Elephants have never lost the capacity to astonish and delight.
  • If so, they'll astonish even more people than they already have.
  • He can astonish himself with his own achievements, both good and bad.
  • In this great age of simplicity such a thing would naturally astonish us.
  • The smallness of many of the pieces is not a function of cuteness or of the wish to astonish.
  • When so many simple things remained to be invented that sticking a metal rod atop a barn could astonish people.
  • And some are meant to be opened at random so that they can reveal weird, little-known factoids that are meant to astonish.
  • Helm, whose relaxed but agile drumming continues to astonish.
  • Maybe someday they'll astonish us by writing something of consequence.
  • The more you look at them, the more they astonish with their lush tones, dreamy atmosphere and metallic three-dimensionality.
British Dictionary definitions for astonish


(transitive) to fill with amazement; surprise greatly
Word Origin
C15: from earlier astonyen (see astonied), from Old French estoner, from Vulgar Latin extonāre (unattested) to strike with thunder, from Latin 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
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Word Origin and History for astonish

c.1300, astonien, from Old French estoner "to stun, daze, deafen, astound," from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex- "out" + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder); so, literally "to leave someone thunderstruck." The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, e.g. distinguish, diminish) is attested from c.1530.

No wonder is thogh that she were astoned [Chaucer, "Clerk's Tale"]
Related: Astonished; astonishing; astonishingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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