happening, coming, made, or done quickly, without warning, or unexpectedly: a sudden attack.
occurring without transition from the previous form, state, etc.; abrupt: a sudden turn.
impetuous; rash.
Archaic. quickly made or provided.
Obsolete, unpremeditated.
Literary. suddenly.
Obsolete. an unexpected occasion or occurrence.
all of a sudden, without warning; unexpectedly; suddenly. Also, on a sudden.

1250–1300; Middle English sodain (adj. and adv.) < Middle French < Latin subitāneus going or coming stealthily, equivalent to subit(us) sudden, taking by surprise (see subito) + -āneus composite adj. suffix, equivalent to -ān(us) -an + -eus -eous

suddenly, adverb
suddenness, noun

1, 2. unforeseen, unanticipated. Sudden, unexpected, abrupt describe acts, events, or conditions for which there has been no preparation or gradual approach. Sudden refers to the quickness of an occurrence, although the event may have been expected: a sudden change in the weather. Unexpected emphasizes the lack of preparedness for what occurs or appears: an unexpected crisis. Abrupt characterizes something involving a swift adjustment; the effect is often unpleasant, unfavorable, or the cause of dismay: He had an abrupt change in manner. The road came to an abrupt end.

1, 2. gradual, foreseen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sudden (ˈsʌdən)
1.  occurring or performed quickly and without warning
2.  marked by haste; abrupt
3.  rare rash; precipitate
4.  archaic an abrupt occurrence or the occasion of such an occurrence (in the phrase on a sudden)
5.  all of a sudden without warning; unexpectedly
6.  poetic chiefly without warning; suddenly
[C13: via French from Late Latin subitāneus, from Latin subitus unexpected, from subīre to happen unexpectedly, from sub- secretly + īre to go]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., perhaps via Anglo-Fr. sodein, from O.Fr. subdain "immediate, sudden," from V.L. *subitanus, variant of L. subitaneus "sudden," from subitus "come or go up stealthily," from sub "up to" + ire "come, go." Phrase all of a sudden first attested 1680s, earlier of a sudayn (1590s), upon the soden
(1550s). Sudden death, tie-breakers in sports, first recorded 1927; earlier in ref. to coin tosses (1834).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see all of a sudden.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Shoddy manufacturing is unlikely to explain the sudden failures observed.
The sudden addition of new people also makes your network look pretty strange.
But no one likes the traffic, the crowds, the sudden infusion of citified
  bustle and self-importance.
Apt to suffer from sudden dieback or borers add to my plant list.
Idioms & Phrases
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