flabbergast

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

The origin of the verb is uncertain; possibly dialectal (Suffolk), from flabby or flap (to strike) + aghast.[1][2] The word may be related to Scottish flabrigast (to boast) or flabrigastit (worn out with exertion).[1][3]

The noun is derived from the verb.[4]

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

flabbergast (third-person singular simple present flabbergasts, present participle flabbergasting, simple past flabbergasted, past participle flabbergasted or flabbergast)

  1. (transitive) To overwhelm with bewilderment; to amaze, confound, or stun, especially in a ludicrous manner. [from late 18th c.]
    Synonyms: flabbergaster; see also Thesaurus:surprise
    He was flabbergasted to find that his work had been done for him before he began.
    Her stupidity flabbergasts me, and I have to force myself to keep a straight face while she explains her beliefs.
    I love to flabbergast the little-minded by shattering their preconceptions about my nationality and gender.
    The oddity of the situation was so flabbergasting I couldn’t react in time for anyone to see it.

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Derived termsEdit

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NounEdit

flabbergast (countable and uncountable, plural flabbergasts)

  1. (countable) An awkward person.
    Synonyms: dork, dweeb, geek; see also Thesaurus:dork
  2. (uncountable) Overwhelming confusion, shock, or surprise.
    Synonyms: astonishment, astoundedness, awe, dumbfoundedness, flabbergaster, flabbergastation, flabbergastment, stupefaction; see also Thesaurus:confusion, Thesaurus:surprise
    When I saw my house on fire, the flabbergast overcame me and I just stood and stared, too shocked to comprehend what I was seeing.
    His flabbergast was so great he couldn’t even come up with a plausible answer.
    • 1852 October, “Adventures of Tom Honeycomb—No. I”, in Yankee Notions, volume 2, number 10, New York, N.Y.: Published by T. W. Strong, [], OCLC 32423418, page 297:
      Her foibles were flattery, fine feeling, and flabergast; and if not old enough to be his mother, sufficiently so to be a young aunt.
    • 1868 February 22, Oliver Optic [pseudonym; William Taylor Adams], “Freaks of Fortune; or, Half Round the World”, in Oliver Optic, editor, Oliver Optic’s Magazine. Our Boys and Girls, volume III, number 60, Boston, Mass.: Published by Lee and Shepard, [], OCLC 1013420746, chapter XVI (Pistols for Two), page 117, column 2:
      Then quit your flabbergast, and talk in plain English.
    • 1998, James Carlos Blake, Red Grass River: A Legend, New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, →ISBN; 1st Perennial edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper Perennial, 2000, →ISBN, page 52:
      Bob's big-eyed flabbergast struck him as comic and he laughed and said, "Lying sack, hey?"

Alternative formsEdit

TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jonathon Green, editor (2005) Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, 2nd edition, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, →ISBN, page 511.
  2. ^ William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin Eli Smith, editors (1897) The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, New York, N.Y.: The Century Company, OCLC 2694351, page 2245, suggesting the second element of the word as derived from gast (astonish).
  3. ^ flabbergast, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1896; “flabbergast”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  4. ^ flabbergast, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1896

Further readingEdit