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startle

[stahr-tl] /ˈstɑr tl/
verb (used with object), startled, startling.
1.
to disturb or agitate suddenly as by surprise or alarm.
2.
to cause to start involuntarily, by or as by a sudden shock.
verb (used without object), startled, startling.
3.
to start involuntarily, as from a shock of surprise or alarm.
noun
4.
a sudden shock of surprise, alarm, or the like.
5.
something that startles.
Origin
1100
before 1100; Middle English stertlen to rush, caper, equivalent to stert(en) to start + -(e)len -le, or continuing Old English steartlian to kick, struggle
Related forms
startlement, noun
startler, noun
outstartle, verb (used with object), outstartled, outstartling.
unstartled, adjective
Synonyms
1. scare, frighten, astonish. See shock1 .
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for unstartled

startle

/ˈstɑːtəl/
verb
1.
to be or cause to be surprised or frightened, esp so as to start involuntarily
Derived Forms
startler, noun
Word Origin
Old English steartlian to stumble; related to Middle High German starzen to strut, Norwegian sterta to strain oneself
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for unstartled

startle

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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