Denotation vs. Connotation


[mahr-vuh l] /ˈmɑr vəl/
something that causes wonder, admiration, or astonishment; a wonderful thing; a wonder or prodigy:
The new bridge is an engineering marvel.
Archaic. the feeling of wonder; astonishment.
verb (used with object), marveled, marveling or (especially British) marvelled, marvelling.
to wonder at (usually followed by a clause as object):
I marvel that you were able to succeed against such odds.
to wonder or be curious about (usually followed by a clause as object):
A child marvels that the stars can be.
verb (used without object), marveled, marveling or (especially British) marvelled, marvelling.
to be filled with wonder, admiration, or astonishment, as at something surprising or extraordinary:
I marvel at your courage.
Origin of marvel
1250-1300; Middle English mervel < Old French merveil(l)e < Late Latin mīrābilia marvels, noun use of neuter plural of Latin mīrābilis marvelous. See admirable
Related forms
marvelment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for marvelled
Historical Examples
  • Her soul was still pure sunshine that marvelled at the shadow.

  • "I marvelled at your courage in talking to her as you did," said Eudora.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • All who saw him marvelled then more at his beauty than at his deeds.

    The Coming of Cuculain Standish O'Grady
  • They called it the Free Level, and I marvelled at the nature of this freedom.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • He marvelled at the freak of fancy that seemed to thrust him forward upon his strange quest.

    Rejected of Men Howard Pyle
  • Immediately he marvelled at his familiar speech, but she did not seem to resent it.

  • Humility combined with love is so rare, I suppose, and that is why it is marvelled at.

    A Student in Arms Donald Hankey
  • Solon marvelled, and desired to be informed of the particulars.

    Timaeus Plato
  • Susannah could not criticise keenly, so much she marvelled at the man.

    The Mormon Prophet Lily Dougall
  • He fought on and marvelled as the seconds went by that Gregory came not to his aid.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for marvelled


verb -vels, -velling, -velled (US) -vels, -veling, -veled
when intr, often foll by at or about; when tr, takes a clause as object. to be filled with surprise or wonder
something that causes wonder
(archaic) astonishment
Word Origin
C13: from Old French merveille, from Late Latin mīrābilia, from Latin mīrābilis, from mīrārī to wonder at
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 marvelled



c.1300, "miracle," also "wonderful story or legend," from Old French merveille "a wonder, surprise, miracle," from Vulgar Latin *miribilia (also source of Spanish maravilla, Portuguese maravilha, Italian maraviglia), altered from Latin mirabilia "wonderful things," from neuter plural of mirabilis "wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary; strange, singular," from mirari "to wonder at," from mirus "wonderful" (see smile). A neuter plural treated in Vulgar Latin as a feminine singular. Related: Marvels.


c.1300, "to be filled with wonder," from Old French merveillier "to wonder at, be astonished," from merveille (see marvel (n.)). Related: Marveled; marveling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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