Sense: 1-5, 7-8
Origin: French choc, from choquer 'to strike against'
Sense: 6
Date: 1800-1900
Origin: Perhaps from shock 'bunch of cut wheat, corn, etc.' (14-20 centuries), or from shock 'dog with long rough hair' (17-19 centuries)


1 noun
shock1 S2 W2

unexpected event/situation

[countable usually singular] if something that happens is a shock, you did not expect it, and it makes you feel very surprised, and usually upset
be a shock to discover/find/realize etc that
It was a real shock to hear that the factory would have to close.
Chuck's death came as a complete shock to all of us.
Moving to France was a bit of a shock to the system (=a big shock).

unexpected unpleasant feeling

[singular, uncountable] the feeling of surprise and disbelief you have when something very unexpected happens, especially something bad or frightening:
She was shaking with shock and humiliation.
The whole town was still in a state of shock (=extremely shocked by something and unable to think or react normally).
get/have the shock of your life British English (=get a very big shock)
He got the shock of his life when he found out who I was.
shock of (doing) something
Mom's never really gotten over the shock of Dad's death.
They'll get a shock when they get this bill.
Anyone who thinks that bringing up children is easy is in for a big shock (=will have a big shock).


[uncountable]MI a medical condition in which someone looks pale and their heart and lungs are not working correctly, usually after a sudden very unpleasant experience:
He was bleeding from the head and suffering from shock.
He is clearly in a state of shock.
The tanker driver was treated for shock and released.


[countable]HPE an electric shock


[countable usually plural] a shock absorber

shock of hair

HBH a very thick mass of hair:
an energetic young man with a shock of red hair

sudden change

[countable] a sudden unexpected change which threatens the economic situation, way of life, or traditions of a group of people - used especially in news reports:
the oil shocks of the 1970s


[uncountable and countable] violent shaking caused for example by an explosion or earthquake:
The shock was felt miles away.
shock wave, culture shock, shocked, shell shock, toxic shock syndrome

Dictionary results for "shock"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.