surprise Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “surprise” in the English Dictionary

"surprise" in British English

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surprisenoun

uk   /səˈpraɪz/  us   /sɚ-/
  • surprise noun (EVENT)

A2 [C] an ​unexpectedevent: Don't ​tell Anne we've ​arranged a ​party for her - I ​want it to be a surprise. It was a ​wonderful/​nasty surprise to get ​home and ​find the ​letter. Last night's ​heavysnow came as a ​complete surprise. You're always full of surprises (= doing ​unexpected things). I ​wish you wouldn't ​keep springing surprises on me (= ​telling me ​unexpected things or ​causingunexpected things to ​happen). They ​mounted a surprise ​attack at ​dawn. My ​unclepaid us a surprise ​visityesterday.
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  • surprise noun (FEELING)

B2 [U] the ​feelingcaused by something ​unexpectedhappening: He ​looked at her in/with surprise. To my ​great surprise, they ​agreed to all ​ourdemands.

surpriseverb [T]

uk   /səˈpraɪz/  us   /sɚ-/
B1 to make someone ​feel surprise: The ​news surprised everyone. [+ that] It doesn't surprise me thattheirparents don't ​want them to get ​married. [+ to infinitive] It will not surprise anyone tolearn that the ​offer has been ​rejected. [+ question word] Janet was surprised howquickly the ​timepassed. to ​find, ​catch, or ​attack someone when they are not ​expecting it: The ​robbers had just ​opened the ​safe when they were surprised by the ​police. [+ -ing verb] His ​mother surprised him ​helping himself to her ​gin.

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(Definition of surprise from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"surprise" in American English

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surprisenoun [C/U]

 us   /sərˈprɑɪz, sə-/
an ​unexpectedevent, or the ​feeling caused when something ​unexpectedhappens: [C] Don’t ​tell Ann we’re having a ​party for her – I ​want it to be a surprise. [C] Last night’s ​heavysnow came as a ​complete surprise. [U] To my ​great surprise, they gave us everything we ​asked for.
surprise
adjective [not gradable]  us   /sərˈprɑɪz, sə-/
The ​basketballplayerpaid a surprise ​visit to the ​campus on ​Thursday.

surpriseverb [T]

 us   /sərˈprɑɪz, sə-/
(of an ​event you did not ​expect) to ​cause you to ​feelexcitement over a ​suddendiscovery: She ​surprised a lot of ​tennisfans by ​winning the ​Canadian Open. If you say that you are not ​surprised or would not be ​surprised if something ​happened, you ​mean that you ​almostexpect it: I’m not ​surprised that ​theirparents don’t ​want them to get ​married. I would not be ​surprised to ​see the ​economyslow down next ​year. To surprise someone is also to ​find the ​person unexpectedly: She ​jumped out and ​surprised her ​sister, who ​ran out into the ​hall.
(Definition of surprise from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“surprise” in British English

“surprise” in American English

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