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struck with overwhelming shock or amazement; filled with sudden fright or horror:
They stood aghast at the sight of the plane crashing.
Contemporary Examples

She recalls that her father was aghast when somebody asked him if he had treated King differently than he might another patient.
The Black and White Men Who Saved Martin Luther King’s Life Michael Daly January 19, 2014

Britain was aghast at the loss of its near-viceregal sway in Egypt.
Abbas’s Challenge to Obama John Barry September 18, 2011

Holland was well aware, though, that her feminist friends were aghast at her career choice.
Porn’s Behind-the-Camera Feminists Emily Shire February 25, 2014

When it collapsed two years later, it had tripled to $65 billion—a fact that leaves Stewart aghast at the SEC.
Tangled Webs: The Top 10 Revelations Tony Doukopil April 17, 2011

The Parents Television Council fired out their annual “We Are aghast!”
Miley Cyrus’s VMA Performance Was Ridiculous, But It Wasn’t Racist Kevin Fallon August 25, 2013

Historical Examples

“Nothing,” said Mrs. Kenton, aghast at first, and then astonished to realize that she was speaking the simple truth.
The Kentons William Dean Howells

I heard Cousin Egbert say with what I was aghast to suspect was admiration.
Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson

The spectators recoiled, aghast with indignant astonishment.
Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon

Daniel, aghast and alarmed, would have raised her but she pushed him away.
Cap’n Dan’s Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln

Edward, startled and aghast, drew sullenly into the rear of the tent.
The Last Of The Barons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

(postpositive) overcome with amazement or horror

c.1300, agast, “terrified,” past participle of Middle English agasten “to frighten” (c.1200), from a- intensive prefix + Old English gæstan “to terrify,” from gæst “spirit, ghost” (see ghost). The -gh- spelling appeared early 15c. in Scottish and is possibly a Flemish influence, or after ghost, etc. It became general after 1700.


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