November 29, 2012
astonish (verb)
\uh-STAH-nish\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to strike with sudden wonder or surprise
How do you use it?
Despite the hype, there was nothing in the book to astonish readers.
Are you a word wiz?

"Astonish" traces from a Latin root word that is also the ancestor of another word that has a similar meaning as "astonish." Which of these similar-meaning words do you think comes from the same family as "astonish"?

"Astonish" and "stun" are related through the Latin root "tonare" meaning "to thunder." Latin speakers used "tonare" to form "extonare" which passed into Anglo-French as "estoner," meaning "to stun." From there, "estoner" passed into Middle English where it branched out to form the basis for both "astonish" and "stun." Other members of this striking family include "thunder" and "tornado."
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