• WordNet 3.6
    • v startle to stimulate to action "..startled him awake","galvanized into action"
    • v startle move or jump suddenly, as if in surprise or alarm "She startled when I walked into the room"
    • n startle a sudden involuntary movement "he awoke with a start"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

cartoon of startled man cartoon of startled man

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Startle A sudden motion or shock caused by an unexpected alarm, surprise, or apprehension of danger. "After having recovered from my first startle , I was very well pleased with the accident."
    • Startle To deter; to cause to deviate.
    • Startle To excite by sudden alarm, surprise, or apprehension; to frighten suddenly and not seriously; to alarm; to surprise. "The supposition, at least, that angels do sometimes assume bodies need not startle us."
    • v. i Startle stär"t'l To move suddenly, or be excited, on feeling alarm; to start. "Why shrinks the soul
      Back on herself, and startles at destruction?"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • startle To start; manifest fear, alarm, surprise, pain, or similar emotion by a sudden involuntary start.
    • startle To wince; shrink.
    • startle To move suddenly, as if surprised or frightened.
    • startle To take to flight, as in panic; stampede, as cattle.
    • startle To take departure; depart; set out.
    • startle To cause to start; excite by sudden surprise, alarm, apprehension, or other emotion; scare; shock.
    • startle To rouse suddenly; cause to start, as from a place of concealment or from a state of repose or security.
    • n startle A sudden movement or shock caused by surprise, alarm, or apprehension of danger; a start.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Startle stärt′l to start or move suddenly: to feel sudden alarm
    • v.t Startle to excite suddenly: to shock: to frighten
    • n Startle sudden alarm or surprise
    • ***


  • 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.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Freq. of start,


In literature:

Elsmere was startled by the feeling she showed.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Allison turned toward her with startled eyes.
"Allison Bain" by Margaret Murray Robertson
The boy glanced about the group with startled looks.
"Boy Scouts in the North Sea" by G. Harvey Ralphson
And at that moment he was startled by a sharp explosion.
"The Girl and The Bill" by Bannister Merwin
It was most startlingly broken by a voice.
"The Branding Iron" by Katharine Newlin Burt
As the lid fell off, they were startled to see the body of a man lying in the box.
"The Bradys Beyond Their Depth" by Anonymous
A startled oath slipped from the lips of the Southerner.
"Brand Blotters" by William MacLeod Raine
The repeated words gave her a very startled thrill.
"The End of a Coil" by Susan Warner
You shouldn't startle me like that.
"The Third Degree" by Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow
With startled alacrity Bong withdrew his trunk, but just in time to save it from being mangled.
"Kings in Exile" by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

In poetry:

The cuckoo's
Calling cry this morning
Startled me, for
You left us
At just this time.
"The cuckoo's" by Ki no Tsurayuki
And then--for it is written
Fairies can do such things--
Upon the startled kitten
She stuck the yellow wings.
"A Serious Question" by Carolyn Wells
Away into the neighbouring wood
The startled creature flew,
And crimson drops at morning lay
Amid the glimmering dew.
"The White-Footed Deer" by William Cullen Bryant
And we were startled. In our eyes,
Looked forth the light of great surprise.
Then as a deep-toned tocsin tolls,
A voice spoke forth: "Behold your souls!"
"The End Of The Chapter" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Oh fool of fools, and wretched man is he,
Who breathes his life in this untutored state;
And, in that world to come, how dread will be
His startled soul's at last awakened fate.
"An Hymn" by James Avis Bartley
And all the long night through, for him with eyes and ears,
She sways within thine arms and sings a fairy tune,
Till, startled with the dawn, she softly disappears,
And sleeps and dreams again until the rising moon.
"Tree-Worship" by Richard Le Gallienne

In news:

A lunchtime stop at O'Keefe's Tavern in Clearwater, Fla. F or a guy who just four years ago was running his first statewide campaign, Barack Obama has made startlingly few missteps as a presidential candidate.
Police are investigating a startling situation in Sparks as a body was discovered at the home of former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan late Wednesday aftern.
While "World Trade Center" signs around the new PATH station startled commuters and visitors this week, a smaller but even more poignant graphic remnant of the past was hiding in plain sight across Church Street.
Yvon Chouinard and the startling power of authenticity.
Meanwhile Rove has engaged in some equally startling revisionist history.
EVEN after a year of often startling change, the pace of events in Myanmar can still surprise.
John gives forecast, startling snow statistic.
AUBURN — It is startling how far things have fallen on the Plains.
That's not such a startling revelation.
The honeymoon phase of the Randy Edsall era comes to a startling end as the Terps are ambushed by the visiting Owls.
WOODBRIDGE — A township snow plow driver was startled to find a seal wandering along Sixth Avenue in the Port Reading section of the township early this morning.
Crews inspect Brent Spence Bridge, startle drivers.
Statistics startle at first Buffalo schools youth sex forum.
Arrington's TechCrunch Moves Even Startle Trade Mag Editors.
Fake eviction notices were 'meant to startle people'.

In science:

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
The announcement of such a particle, and with a narrow width is therefore startling, if con firmed .
The End of the Constituent Quark Model?