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From Middle English sodain, from Anglo-Norman sodein, from Old French sodain, subdain ‎(immediate, sudden), from Vulgar Latin *subitānus ‎(sudden), from Latin subitaneus ‎(sudden), from subitus ‎(sudden", literally, "that which has come stealthily), originally the past participle of subire ‎(to come or go stealthily), from sub ‎(under) + ire ‎(go).



sudden ‎(comparative more sudden, superlative most sudden)

  1. Happening quickly and with little or no warning.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
    The sudden drop in temperature left everyone cold and confused.
  2. (obsolete) Hastily prepared or employed; quick; rapid.
    • Shakespeare
      Never was such a sudden scholar made.
    • Milton
      the apples of Asphaltis, appearing goodly to the sudden eye
  3. (obsolete) Hasty; violent; rash; precipitate.
    • Shakespeare
      I have no joy of this contract to-night: It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden


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sudden ‎(comparative more sudden, superlative most sudden)

  1. (poetic) Suddenly.
    • Milton
      Herbs of every leaf that sudden flowered.


sudden ‎(plural suddens)

  1. (obsolete) An unexpected occurrence; a surprise.

Derived terms[edit]



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