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From an alteration (due to words ending in -ish: abolish, banish, cherish, establish, furnish, etc.) of earlier astony, astone, aston, astun (to astonish, confound, stun), from Middle English astonien, astunien, astonen, astunen, astounen (to astound, stun, astonish), of uncertain origin, possibly from Old English *āstunian, from ā- (perfective prefix) + stunian (to make a loud sound, crash, resound, roar, bang, dash, impinge, knock, confound, astonish, stupefy), from Proto-Germanic *stunōną (to sound, crash, bang, groan), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ten-, *(s)ton- (to thunder, roar, groan), equivalent to a- +‎ stun. Compare German erstaunen (to astonish, amaze). Another possible source, or else influence, is Old French estoner, estuner, estonuer, estonner (to stun), either from an assumed Vulgar Latin *extonāre (to strike with thunder, daze, stupefy, stun) from *extonō (ex +‎ tono), or from Old Frankish *stunen (to stun), related to Middle High German stunen (to knock, strike, stun) and then, if not the source, still a cognate of the word astound.



astonish (third-person singular simple present astonishes, present participle astonishing, simple past and past participle astonished)

  1. To surprise greatly.
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], Pride and Prejudice, volume (please specify |volume=I to III), London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton [], →OCLC:
      "I have no right to give my opinion," said Wickham, "as to his being agreeable or otherwise. I am not qualified to form one. I have known him too long and too well to be a fair judge. It is impossible for me to be impartial. But I believe your opinion of him would in general astonish — and perhaps you would not express it quite so strongly anywhere else. Here you are in your own family."


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