What does startle mean?

Definitions for startle
ˈstɑr tlstar·tle

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word startle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. startle, jump, startverb

    a sudden involuntary movement

    "he awoke with a start"

  2. startle, galvanize, galvaniseverb

    to stimulate to action

    "..startled him awake"; "galvanized into action"

  3. startle, jump, startverb

    move or jump suddenly, as if in surprise or alarm

    "She startled when I walked into the room"


  1. startlenoun

    A sudden motion or shock caused by an unexpected alarm, surprise, or apprehension of danger.

  2. startleverb

    To move suddenly, or be excited, on feeling alarm; to start.

  3. startleverb

    To excite by sudden alarm, surprise, or apprehension; to frighten suddenly and not seriously; to alarm; to surprise.

  4. startleverb

    To deter; to cause to deviate.

  5. Etymology: From startlen, stertlen, stertyllen, from steartlian, equivalent to. Cognate with stirtla, stirtla. Compare also stertil. More at start.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Startlenoun

    Sudden alarm; shock; sudden impression of terrour.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    After having recovered from my first startle, I was very well pleased at the accident. Spectator.

  2. To Startleverb

    To fright; to shock; to impress with sudden terrour, surprise, or alarm.

    They would find occasions enough, upon the account of his known affections to the king’s service, from which it was not possible to remove or startle him. Edward Hyde.

    Wilmot had more scruples from religion to startle him, and would not have attained his end by any gross act of wickedness. Edward Hyde.

    Such whisp’ring wak’d her, but with startled eye
    On Adam. John Milton.

    To hear the lark begin his flight,
    And singing startle the dull night
    From his watch-tower in the skies,
    ’Till the dappled dawn doth rise. John Milton.

    The supposition that angels assume bodies needs not startle us, since some of the most ancient and most learned fathers seemed to believe that they had bodies. John Locke.

    Incest! Oh name it not!
    The very mention shakes my inmost soul:
    The gods are startled in their peaceful mansions,
    And nature sickens at the shocking sound. Smith.

    His books had been solemnly burnt at Rome as heretical: some people, he found, were startled at it; so he was forced boldly to make reprisals, to buoy up their courage. Francis Atterbury.

    Now the leaf
    Incessant rustles, from the mournful grove
    Oft startling such as studious walk below,
    And slowly circles through the waving air. James Thomson.

  3. To Startleverb

    To shrink; to move on feeling a sudden impression of alarm or terrour.

    Etymology: from start.

    The startling steed was seiz’d with sudden fright,
    And bounding o’er the pommel cast the knight. Dryden.

    Why shrinks the soul
    Back on herself, and startles at destruction? Joseph Addison, Cato.

    My frighted thoughts run back,
    And startle into madness at the sound. Joseph Addison, Cato.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Startleverb

    to move suddenly, or be excited, on feeling alarm; to start

  2. Startleverb

    to excite by sudden alarm, surprise, or apprehension; to frighten suddenly and not seriously; to alarm; to surprise

  3. Startleverb

    to deter; to cause to deviate

  4. Startlenoun

    a sudden motion or shock caused by an unexpected alarm, surprise, or apprehension of danger

  5. Etymology: [Freq. of start.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Startle

    stärt′l, v.i. to start or move suddenly: to feel sudden alarm.—v.t. to excite suddenly: to shock: to frighten.—n. sudden alarm or surprise.—n. Start′ler.—adj. Start′ling, such as to strike with astonishment or alarm.—adv. Start′lingly.—adj. Start′lish, apt to start. [Extension of start.]

Matched Categories

Anagrams for startle »

  1. rattles

  2. starlet

  3. tarlets

  4. slatter

How to pronounce startle?

How to say startle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of startle in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of startle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of startle in a Sentence

  1. Holly Rilinger:

    Oils can startle your senses and get your body up quickly.

  2. Lisa Grennan:

    They go through enormous amounts of training and are more used to going up against multiple grown men and hearing loud noises, so the little things a kid might do to startle a regular dog isn't going to phase ours at all.

  3. Confucius:

    He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed.

  4. Bob Barnes:

    I didn’t want to startle the bull, i just snuck by him.

  5. Britton Hayes:

    We started to notice the cheetahs became curious of the vehicle; but it was too late to drive away or anything like that because you don’t want to startle the animals, because that’s when things usually go wrong.

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Translations for startle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • erschrecken, aufschreckenGerman
  • αιφνιδιάζω, ξαφνιάζωGreek
  • sobresalto, evitar, sobresaltar, alarmar, impedirSpanish
  • säikäyttää, säikähtää, hätkähdys, kavahtaa, harhauttaa, hätkähtää, hätkäyttääFinnish
  • sursauter, surprendreFrench
  • הבהילHebrew
  • sorprendere, evitare, scattare, spaventare, sobbalzare, schivareItalian
  • 脅かすJapanese
  • داچڵه‌کاندن, ڕاچه‌نینKurdish
  • terreō, pavefaciōLatin
  • ohomauri, whakapereruMāori
  • laten schrikken, schrikkenDutch
  • dar um susto, assustarPortuguese
  • испуга́ть, напуга́ть, пуга́тьRussian
  • sprittaSwedish
  • 惊吓Chinese

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    a natural talent
    • A. ternion
    • B. recital
    • C. impurity
    • D. flair

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