causing or surprise; amazing:
an astonishing victory; an astonishing remark.
to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder; amaze:
Her easy humor and keen intellect astonished me.
Contemporary Examples

Watson gets everything wrong and Holmes is then able to wow his friend with astonishing inferences.
The Essential Sherlock Holmes: Michael Dirda’s Recommendations The Browser December 8, 2011

The death toll rose to four last night, and it is astonishing that it’s not much higher.
Stop Blaming the Wealthy Andrew Roberts August 9, 2011

With just over six months before Election Day, the 2012 presidential campaign looks dull but astonishing.
Democrats Have Bigger Anti-Mormon Problem in Election Than GOP Has Peter Beinart April 22, 2012

An astonishing thing happened this week in American politics.
Olympia Snowe Latest to Leave as the Senate’s Center Collapses Mark McKinnon March 3, 2012

His astonishing new novel “The Zone of Interest,” which will be released Sept. 30, is his latest attempt.
How Hitch & Amis Discovered Evil In My House Peter Foges September 27, 2014

Historical Examples

Or come back to Europe, and take the astonishing case of Austria and Hungary.
Home Rule Harold Spender

There is one astonishing instance of this towards the end of the drama.
The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris

It is astonishing with what keen delight he engaged in this singular pursuit.
Shelley at Oxford Thomas Jefferson Hogg

It’s astonishing how people forget the vital things, and remember trifles.
Quaint Courtships Various

There was an astonishing vista, once inside the gates, of sherry butts and port casks.
The London Mercury, Vol. I, Nos. 1-6, November 1919 to April 1920 Various

causing great surprise or amazement; astounding
(transitive) to fill with amazement; surprise greatly

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.


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    causing or surprise; amazing: an astonishing victory; an astonishing remark. Contemporary Examples Israelis are astonishingly unified in defense of their country’s flotilla interception. Bibi’s Unlikely New Fan Club Ethan Perlson June 4, 2010 She is smiling as he raises the baby above his head; the child is astonishingly calm. Joe Walsh Vs. Tammy Duckworth: Yelps, […]

  • Astonishment

    overpowering wonder or surprise; amazement: He looked with astonishment at his friends. an object or cause of amazement. Contemporary Examples In his book, Aboul Gheit notes with astonishment the attitude of Mubarak himself. Inside Hosni Mubarak’s Last Days Vivian Salama February 20, 2013 To his astonishment, the driver found the gate open; guards already had […]

  • Astor

    John Jacob, 1763–1848, U.S. capitalist and fur merchant. Nancy (Langhorne) [lang-hawrn,, -ern] /ˈlæŋˌhɔrn,, -ərn/ (Show IPA), Viscountess, 1879–1964, first woman member of Parliament in England. Contemporary Examples Soon I discovered that the private Mrs. Astor was a maverick. Brooke Astor’s Estate Is Auctioned, and a Friend Recalls Her Fondly Barbara Goldsmith September 28, 2012 The […]

  • Astound

    to overwhelm with amazement; astonish greatly; shock with wonder or surprise. Archaic. astonished; astounded. Contemporary Examples But it continues to astound me that there are troves of archives that have not been looked at. What Lincoln Could Teach Fox News Scott Porch November 5, 2014 The depth of rage, animus and violence that was directed […]

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