flabbergast

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Origin uncertain. Hotten says it is from Old English[1]; Whitney and Smith suggests flabby or flap (strike) + gast (astonish)[2]; The Imperial Dictionary connects it with flabber (related to flap, to strike) + the root of aghast, and notes that flabagast may have been the root (to strike aghast)[3]; first documented as slang in 1772; [4] Cassell gives it as dialectical from Suffolk, from flap or flabby + aghast, possibly related to Scottish flabrigast (to boast) or flabrigastit (worn out with exertion)[5]; Smith relates it to flab (to quake) or flap (to make a flap over something) + Middle English agasten (to terrify), and relates it to aghast, ghastly and ghost[6]

Verb[edit]

flabbergast (third-person singular simple present flabbergasts, present participle flabbergasting, simple past and past participle flabbergasted)

  1. (transitive) To overwhelm with bewilderment; to stun, confound or amaze, especially with ludicrous affect.[7] [8]
    He was flabbergasted to find that his work had been done for him before he began.
    Her stupidity flabbergasts me, and I have to force myself to keep a straight face while she explains her beliefs.
    I love to flabbergast the little-minded by shattering their preconceptions about my nationality and gender.
    The oddity of the situation was so flabbergasting I couldn't react in time for anyone to see it.
    • 1772. Edmund Burke. The Annual Register, Dec. 15, 1772. "On New Words". Longmans, Green. page 191.
      Now we are flabbergasted and bored from morning to night — in the senate, at Cox's museum, at Ranelagh, and even at church.
    • 1861. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Insulted and Injured. Kessinger Publishing. page 258.
      Well, some degree of the same pleasure may be experienced when one flabbergasts some romantic Schiller, by putting out one's tongue at him when he least expects it.
    • 1926. Austin Harrison. Frederic Harrison: Thoughts and Memories. W. Heinemann. page 189.
      For instance, I could offend, shock, annoy, distress and flabbergast your father utterly in five minutes, but the more I tried to offend, shock, distress or flabbergast Henry James, the more disinterestedly sympathetic he would appear.
    • 1956. John Thomas Flynn. The Roosevelt Myth. Ludwig von Mises Institute. page 50.
      He loved to flabbergast his associates by announcing some startling new policy without consulting any of them.
    • 2008. Harry Turtledove. The United States of Atlantis. Penguin. page 240.
      "The idea may surprise you, but I intend that it shall flabbergast the poor foolish Englishmen mured up behind those pine and redwood logs. Flabbergast 'em, I say!"

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See Wikisaurus:confuse

Noun[edit]

flabbergast (plural flabbergasts)

  1. (uncountable) Overwhelming surprise, confusion or shock.[9]
    When I saw my house on fire, the flabbergast overcame me and I just stood and stared, too shocked to comprehend what I was seeing.
    His flabbergast was so great he couldn't even come up with a plausible answer.
    • 1868. Oliver Optic's magazine: Our boys and girls, Volumes 3-4 . Lee and Shepard. page 117.
      Then quit your flabbergast, and talk in plain English.
    • 2000. James Carlos Blake. Red Grass River: A Legend. HarperCollins. page 52.
      Bob's big-eyed flabbergast struck him as comic and he laughed and said, “Lying sack, hey?”
  2. (countable) An awkward person.[10]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ 1860, John Camden Hotten, A dictionary of modern slang, cant, and vulgar words[1], page 140:
  2. ^ 1897, William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin Eli Smith (Eds.) editor, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia: Dictionary[2], Century, page 2245:
  3. ^ 1883, John Ogilvie; Charles Annandale, The imperial dictionary of the English language[3], Blackie & Sons, page 285:
  4. ^ 1772 December 15, “New Words”, in Annual Register[4], Quotidian, page 190:
  5. ^ 2005, Jonathan Green, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang[5], Sterling Publishing Company, page 511:
  6. ^ 2006, Chrysti M. Smith, Verbivore's Feast: Second Course: More Word & Phrase Origins, Farcountry Press, page 126:
  7. ^ 1897, William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin Eli Smith (Eds.) editor, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia: Dictionary[6], Century, page 2245:
  8. ^ 1900, Joseph Wright (Ed.) editor, The English Dialect Dictionary, Being the Complete Vocabulary of All Dialect[7], H. Frowde, page 376:
  9. ^ 2005, Jonathan Green, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang[8], Sterling Publishing Company, page 511:
  10. ^ 2005, Jonathan Green, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang[9], Sterling Publishing Company, page 511: