• WordNet 3.6
    • adj startling so remarkably different or sudden as to cause momentary shock or alarm "Sydney's startling new Opera House","startling news","startling earthquake shocks"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

cartoon of startled man cartoon of startled man

Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • startling That startles or that excites sudden surprise, apprehension, fear, or like emotion; that rouses or suddenly and forcibly attracts attention: as, startling news; a startling discovery.
    • startling Easily startled or alarmed; skittish; shying.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Startling such as to strike with astonishment or alarm
    • ***


  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
    “A person is always startled when he hears himself called old for the first time.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “A careful inventory of all your past experiences may disclose the startling fact that everything has happened for the best.”
  • Robert Henri
    Robert Henri
    “A tree growing out of the ground is as wonderful today as it ever was. It does not need to adopt new and startling methods.”
  • Henry David Thoreau
    “Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice.”
  • John Keats
    “Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Extension of start.


In literature:

What had startled her?
"The Courage of Marge O'Doone" by James Oliver Curwood
The result was startling.
"The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow" by Anna Katharine Green
The effect was startling.
"The Chief Legatee" by Anna Katharine Green
I was startled, and wheeled on the instant; as I did so, some small animal scurried away into the underbrush.
"Ways of Wood Folk" by William J. Long
Her words and tone startled Angela.
"The Shield of Silence" by Harriet T. Comstock
It was rather a startling answer.
"Quiet Talks on Following the Christ" by S. D. Gordon
He was startled at my entrance.
"Arthur Mervyn" by Charles Brockden Brown
Steve looked down and smiled casually into Barbara's wide and startled eyes.
"Then I'll Come Back to You" by Larry Evans
And I met her startled upflung gaze.
"Brigands of the Moon" by Ray Cummings
Startling surprise had followed startling surprise during the past months.
"The Southerner" by Thomas Dixon
The touch of genius startles everything into life.
"The Way of Ambition" by Robert Hichens
There was a startled gasp in answer, and the mound beside him heaved as the girl stirred.
"Key Out of Time" by Andre Alice Norton
Verrinder was startled by it, too.
"The Cup of Fury" by Rupert Hughes
His startled jerk threw the ship widely from her course.
"Astounding Stories, May, 1931" by Various
Suddenly, and with startling nearness, there echoes forth from a crag overhead a loud resonant bark.
"John Ames, Native Commissioner" by Bertram Mitford
I was suddenly and inexplicably startled into silence.
"Kastle Krags" by Absalom Martin
My rather peremptory advent into the coal-bin resulted in a startling amount of noise, noise enough to wake the soundest of sleepers.
"The Man Who Couldn't Sleep" by Arthur Stringer
Now that he was alone on the path, the utter absence of color in his cheeks was startling.
"The Voice of the Pack" by Edison Marshall
As he rose, startled from his reveries, a pudgy hand shot out and seized his arm.
"The Moghul" by Thomas Hoover
The startled driver slammed on brakes, causing the big black truck to slide like a sled.
"Ghost Beyond the Gate" by Mildred A. Wirt

In poetry:

The startled quail in covies whir
From 'neath your feet as on you stray
Along the narrow thread-like path,
This cool October day.
"Through October Fields" by James Edwin Campbell
If a dead leaf startle behind me,
I think 'tis your garment's hem,
And, oh, where no memory could find me,
Might I whirl away with them!
"The Broken Tryst" by James Russell Lowell
It is a glorious thing to dream,
When full of wings and full of eyes
Borne on the whirlwind or sunbeam
We race along the startled skies;
"Dreams" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
Seeing before my startled sight
My greatest, deepest crime arise;
Let not the fiend my soul that tries,
Subdue me in this dreadful fight.
"The Purgatory Of St. Patrick - Act III" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
Splendors of elemental strife;
Smit suns that startle back the gloom;
New light whose tale of stellar doom
Fares to uncomprehending life;
"The Testimony of the Suns" by George Sterling
Soon the brazen trump of war,
With startling clangour from afar,
May wake our shores—make Europe broad
One battle-field—forbid it, God!
"The Voice of Blood" by Janet Hamilton

In news:

It was a warm, rumbly vocalization that he uses to keep from startling the gorillas.
The physical perfection of Maori startled Europeans arriving in New Zealand.
I first heard that "Isaac may cause some devastation" over a week ago and it was startling.
Lynch faces felony charges of assault and elder abuse after prosecutors say he beat Lindner in 2010 in front of startled witnesses at a retirement home for priests.
INTERVIEWS Watch METZ' Startling, GIF-Like 'Wet Blanket Video.
"Hey, I'll give you some money for that pizza," Majerus said to Air Force's startled senior center.
The CNN journalist is startled by a nearby bomb explosion during a live report.
A WINK News Call for Action investigation uncovers startling facts about most parents and what they think they know when it comes to installing car seat s safely.
ST CLOUD – Nearly 400,000 people of all ages experience Sudden Cardiac arrest every year in the US, and the average survival rate is a startlingly low 5.
Here's a startling plot twist for readers: local bookstores are making a comeback.
The 2010 Census showed startling shifts in the city's racial and ethnic makeup, confirming that Manhattan and Brooklyn have gained more whites, while blacks are bolting from those boroughs as well as Queens.
A startling new report out is making some waves of its own in the medical field.
Normally, we'd be interviewing a soap star about something important, like big career news or a startling plot twist.
More startling, every year 18,000 people die from diseases that could be prevented or cured, simply because they do not have access to health care .
Startling findings in a new report out this weekend.

In science:

This startling aspect of our Universe has prompted a wide variety of possible explanations (see, e.g., Caldwell 2004) and considerable effort has gone into developing concepts for dedicated space missions to probe the mysterious dark energy thought to be causing this accelerated expansion.
The effects of charge transfer inefficiency (CTI) on galaxy shape measurements
We must mention at this point that the idea of using (2) to produce such a startling diophantine application is a testimony of the genius of Ap´ery.
A simplification of Ap\'ery's proof of the irrationality of \zeta(3)
Looking at the particles with I , J, S, C = 0 it is startling to find that their masses are quite close to integer multiples of the mass of the π0 meson.
The masses of the mesons and baryons. Part I. The Integer Multiple Rule
In addition, a startling experimental observation at HERA concerning DIS in the small-x region is that an approximately constant fraction (of the order of 10%) of events for x ∼< 10−2 , are diffractive (i.e. the proton remains intact rather than scattering inelastically).
The dipole picture of small x physics (a summary of the Amirim meeting)
But when Hall effect experiments were done on exceptionally pure samples of 2D electron gas at very low temperatures and very high magnetic fields, it was found that the Hall conductivity σxy as a function of the filling fraction ν revealed a startlingly simple pattern.
CP_N Solitons in Quantum Hall Systems
Not even heuristic models exist for early-type contact configurations, which nevertheless arise with startling frequency in models of more massive binary evolution (Nelson & Eggleton 2001).
MODEST-1: Integrating Stellar Evolution and Stellar Dynamics
Perhaps the most startling aspect of damped Lyα research for stellar spectroscopists is that the path from ionic column density measurements to elemental abundances is trivial.
Chemical Abundances in the Damped Lya Systems
The announcement of such a particle, and with a narrow width is therefore startling, if con firmed .
The End of the Constituent Quark Model?
Then in the late 1960’s John Horton Conway published a startling paper in which he showed how to compute Alexander polynomials without any matrices, free calculi or determinants.
Review of "Knots" by Alexei Sossinsky, Harvard University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-674-00944-4
The result is quite startling and a dramatic illustration of the advantage of a light cone representation.
2004 Review of Light Cone Field Theory
On the observational side, the startling diversity of planetary systems, when compared with the properties of our own Solar System, has, if possible, become more evident with the addition of newly discovered planets.
Astrometric Methods and Instrumentation to Identify and Characterize Extrasolar Planets: A Review
It is startling to find that the whole of dynamics of material systems is contained in the law of gravitation; at first gravitation seems scarcely relevant in much of our dynamics.
`Iconoclastic', Categorical Quantum Gravity
Conversely, if source effects are ruled out and/or a time of flight delay of this size is confirmed for other flares, then the conclusions will be startling.
Have we tested Lorentz invariance enough?
Moreover, under some circumstances the experimental signals could be startling.
Testing CPT with B Mesons
It is indeed startling how the three peaks, for D, 4He and 7Li are in excellent agreement with each other.
Primordial Big Bang Nucleosynthesis