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From Middle English *amasen (to bewilder, perplex), from Old English āmasian (to confuse, astonish), from ā- (perfective prefix) + *masian (to confound), from *mæs (delusion, bewilderment), from Proto-Germanic *mas-, *masōną (to confound, be weary, dream), from Proto-Indo-European *mā- (to stupefy). Akin to Old Norse masa (to struggle, be confused), Ancient Greek μάτη (mátē, folly), μέμαα (mémaa, I was eager). More at automatic.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈmeɪz/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪz


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

  1. (transitive) To fill with wonder and surprise; to astonish, astound, surprise or perplex. [from 16th c.]
    He was amazed when he found that the girl was a robot.
    • Bible, Matthew xii. 23
      And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
    • Goldsmith
      Spain has long fallen from amazing Europe with her wit, to amusing them with the greatness of her Catholic credulity.
  2. (intransitive) To undergo amazement; to be astounded.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of B. Taylor to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) To stupefy; to knock unconscious. [13th-17th c.]
  4. (obsolete) To bewilder; to stupefy; to bring into a maze.
    • Shakespeare
      a labyrinth to amaze his foes
  5. (obsolete) To terrify, to fill with panic. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970:
      , New York Review Books 2001, p.261:
      [Fear] amazeth many men that are to speak or show themselves in public assemblies, or before some great personages []

Related terms[edit]



amaze (uncountable)

  1. (now poetic) Amazement, astonishment. [from 16th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.ii:
      All in amaze he suddenly vp start / With sword in hand, and with the old man went [...].
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, p. 103:
      Shattuck looked at him in amaze.
    • 1985, Lawrence Durrell, Quinx, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 1361:
      She took the proffered cheque and stared at it with puzzled amaze, dazed by her own behaviour.