Date: 1400-1500
Language: Old French
Origin: , past participle of surprendre 'to take over, surprise', from sur- ( SURCHARGE) + prendre 'to take'


1 noun
sur‧prise1 S3 W2


[countable] an unexpected or unusual event [↪ shock]:
What a surprise to find you here!
surprise visit/announcement/attack etc
Naomi paid a surprise visit to her old school in London.
a surprise attack at midnight
come as a surprise (to somebody) (=happen unexpectedly)
The triumph came as a surprise to many fans.
It should come as no surprise (=you should expect it to happen) that cycling builds leg strength.
there is a surprise in store (for somebody) (=something unexpected is going to happen to them)
If you go to Ontario in summer, you're in for a few surprises.


[uncountable and countable] the feeling you have when something unexpected or unusual happens [↪ shock]:
The man had a look of surprise on his face.
get/have a surprise
She got a surprise when she turned the letter over. It was from Finn.
in/with surprise
Bill looked at him in surprise.
to somebody's surprise (=in a way that surprises someone)
Much to his surprise she gave him her phone number.
To everyone's surprise, they got married.

take/catch somebody by surprise

to happen unexpectedly:
The question took her by surprise.

take somebody/something by surprise

PM to suddenly attack a place or an opponent when they are not ready:
The guerrillas were killed when army troops took them by surprise.

gift/party etc

[countable usually singular] an unexpected present, trip etc which you give to someone or organize for them, often on a special occasion
surprise for
'I've got a surprise for you,' she said.

surprise guest/visitor etc

someone who arrives somewhere unexpectedly


spoken used when you are just about to show someone something that you know will surprise them

surprise, surprise

used when saying in a joking way that you expected something to happen or be true:
The American TV networks are, surprise, surprise, full of stories about the election.
b) British English spoken used when you suddenly appear in front of someone who you know is not expecting to see you


[uncountable] the use of methods which are intended to cause surprise:
An element of surprise is important to any attack.

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