As the family hunted for anything personal that could be retrieved, they were startled when the phone began to ring.
But other Zentai enthusiasts wear their suits in public and bask in the reactions of startled passers-by.
When Syrian soldiers from the Interior Ministry roared up in a white Toyota van to abduct me, I was startled.
c.1300, "run to and fro," frequentative of sterten (see start (v.)). Sense of "move suddenly in surprise or fear" first recorded 1520s. Transitive meaning "frighten suddenly" is from 1590s. The word retains more of the original meaning of start (v.). Related: Startled; startling.