From Middle English sodeyn, sodain, from Anglo-Norman sodein, from Old French sodain, subdain (immediate, sudden), from Vulgar Latin *subitānus (sudden), from Latin subitāneus (sudden), from subitus (sudden", literally, "that which has come stealthily), originally the past participle of subīre (to come or go stealthily), from sub (under) + īre (go). Doublet of subitaneous. Displaced native Old English fǣrlīċ.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsʌdən/, [ˈsʌdn̩]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌdən
  • Hyphenation: sud‧den


sudden (comparative more sudden, superlative most sudden)

  1. Happening quickly and with little or no warning.
    • 1552, The Boke of Common Prayer [etc.][1], The Letanie:
      From lightninges and tempeſtes, from plage, peſtilence, and famine, from battayle and murther, and from ſodayn death. / Good lord deliver us.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
    The sudden drop in temperature left everyone cold and confused.
  2. (obsolete) Hastily prepared or employed; quick; rapid.
    • c. 1599, Shakespeare, William, Henry V, act 1, scene 1:
      Never was such a sudden scholar made.
    • 1649, Milton, John, Eikonoklastes:
      Thus these pious flourishes and colours, examined thoroughly, are like the apples of Asphaltis, appearing goodly to the sudden eye; but look well upon them, or at least but touch them, and they turn into cinders.
  3. (obsolete) Hasty; violent; rash; precipitate.



Derived termsEdit



sudden (comparative more sudden, superlative most sudden)

  1. (poetic) Suddenly.


sudden (plural suddens)

  1. (obsolete) An unexpected occurrence; a surprise.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit