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PIE word
PIE word

The verb is derived from Middle English *amasen, amase (to bewilder, perplex) (attested chiefly in the past participle form, and thus often difficult to distinguish from amased (adjective)),[1] from Old English āmasian (to confuse, astonish), from ā- (perfective prefix) + *masian (to confound, confuse, perplex; to amaze)[2] (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)meh₂- (to beckon, signal)). The English word is analysable as a- (intensifying prefix) +‎ maze ((archaic) to astonish, amaze, bewilder; to daze, stupefy).

The noun is derived from Late Middle English amase, from the verb: see above.[3]



amaze (third-person singular simple present amazes, present participle amazing, simple past and past participle amazed)

  1. (transitive)
    1. To fill (someone) with surprise and wonder; to astonish, to astound, to surprise. [from 16th c.]
      He was amazed when he found that the girl was a robot.
    2. (obsolete) To stun or stupefy (someone). [Old English–18th c.]
      • 1769, [Oliver] Goldsmith, “From the Beginning of the First Triumvirate to the Death of Pompey”, in The Roman History, from the Foundation of the City of Rome, to the Destruction of the Western Empire. [], volume I, London: [] S. Baker and G. Leigh, []; T[homas] Davies, []; and L. Davis, [], →OCLC, page 479:
        Inſtead of thinking hovv to remedy this diſorder by rallying ſuch troops as fled, or by oppoſing freſh troops to ſtop the progreſs of the conquerors, being totally amazed by this firſt blovv, he [Pompey] returned to the camp, and in his tent, vvaited the iſſue of an event, vvhich it vvas his duty to direct, not to follovv: []
    3. (obsolete, also reflexive) To bewilder or perplex (someone or oneself). [16th–17th]
    4. (obsolete, poetic) To fill (someone) with panic; to panic, to terrify. [16th–18th c.]
  2. (intransitive, archaic) To experience amazement; to be astounded. [from 16th c.]


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amaze (countable and uncountable, plural amazes)

  1. (archaic)
    1. (except poetic, uncountable) Amazement, astonishment; (countable) an instance of this. [from 16th c.]
    2. (uncountable) Fear, terror. [from 16th c.]
      Synonym: (obsolete) amazement
  2. (obsolete, uncountable) Stupefaction of the mind; bewilderment; (countable) an instance of this. [15th–19th]
    Synonym: (obsolete) amazement
    • 1610, Gervase Markham, “Of the Diseases in the Head”, in Markhams Maister-peece. Contayning All Knowledge Belonging to the Smith, Farrier, or Horse-leech, Touching the Curing of All Diseases in Horses: [], 5th edition, London: [] Nicholas and Iohn Okes, [], published 1636, →OCLC, 1st book (Containing All Cures Physicall, []), page 60:
      [T]he panicles or thin skins [of a horse] vvhich cleaving to the bones, doe cover the vvhole braine, are ſubject to head-ach, mygram, dizineſſe, and amazes; []

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  1. ^ amāsed, ppl.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ amaze, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2023; amaze, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ amaze, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2023.