A surprise can be an unexpected or astonishing event, such as an ambush or a really great grade on a test you didn't study for.

Surprise can be a verb meaning to astonish or startle someone, a noun for the unexpected thing, or for the feeling produced by that surprise. It comes from the Latin word for "seize," and originally meant an unexpected military attack. When the novelist Charles Lever wrote in 1841 of "three cavalry regiments, their noiseless gestures and perfect stillness bespeaking at once that they were intended for a surprise party," he meant a surprise attack, not a birthday party.

Definitions of surprise
  1. verb
    come upon or take unawares
    “She surprised the couple”
    “He surprised an interesting scene”
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    catch unawares, especially with harmful consequences
    type of:
    act, move
    perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)
  2. verb
    attack by storm; attack suddenly
    synonyms: storm
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    type of:
    assail, attack
    launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
  3. verb
    cause to be surprised
    “The news really surprised me”
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    amaze, astonish, astound
    affect with wonder
    explode a bombshell
    utter or do something surprising
    discover or come upon accidentally, suddenly, or unexpectedly; catch somebody doing something or in a certain state
    boggle, bowl over, flabbergast
    overcome with amazement
    ball over, blow out of the water, floor, shock, take aback
    surprise greatly; knock someone's socks off
    amaze or bewilder, as with brilliant wit or intellect or skill
    galvanise, galvanize, startle
    to stimulate to action
    type of:
    affect, impress, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  4. noun
    the act of surprising someone
    synonyms: surprisal
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    type of:
    disruption, perturbation
    the act of causing disorder
  5. noun
    a sudden unexpected event
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    bombshell, thunderbolt, thunderclap
    a shocking surprise
    coup de theatre
    a dramatic surprise
    eye opener
    something surprising and revealing
    peripeteia, peripetia, peripety
    a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or reverse of circumstances (especially in a literary work)
    blow, shock
    an unpleasant or disappointing surprise
    an unexpected and amazing event
    a sudden minor shock or meaningless interruption
    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  6. noun
    the astonishment you feel when something totally unexpected happens to you
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    type of:
    amazement, astonishment
    the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising
Word Family

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