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Alternative forms[edit]

  • appal (Commonwealth English)


From Middle English apallen, from Old French apalir (to grow pale, make pale); a (Latin ad) + palir (to grow pale, to make pale), pâle (pale). See pale (adj.) and compare with pall.


  • enPR: ə-pôlʹ, IPA(key): /əˈpɔːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔːl


appall (third-person singular simple present appalls, present participle appalling, simple past and past participle appalled)

  1. (transitive) To fill with horror and/or indignation; to dismay.
    Synonyms: terrify, daunt, frighten, scare, depress, (archaic) affright; see also Thesaurus:frighten
    The evidence put forth at the court appalled most of the jury.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To make pale; to blanch.
    • c. 1527–1542, Thomas Wyatt, “Thanſwere that ye made to me my dere”, in Egerton MS 2711[1], page 63r:
      Thanſwere that ye made to me my dere
      whañ I did ſewe for my poore hartes redreſſe
      hathe ſo apalld my countenaunce []
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To weaken; to reduce in strength
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To grow faint; to become weak; to become dismayed or discouraged.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To lose flavour or become stale.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Most British dictionaries consider "appal" the sole standard UK spelling (although, as with other words ending in a single vowel followed by an "l", the "l" is always doubled for derivatives such as "appalling").