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From surprise +‎ -al.


surprisal (countable and uncountable, plural surprisals)

  1. (obsolete, military) A surprise attack or ambush; a sudden or unexpected assault. [16th-19th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 146:
      Their chiefe attempts are by Stratagems, trecheries, or surprisals.
  2. (obsolete) A sudden coming-upon someone or something unexpectedly or unawares. [17th c.]
    • Milton
      How to secure the lady from surprisal.
    • Barrow
      Because death is uncertain, let us prevent its surprisal.
  3. (obsolete) A surprising event or occurrence. [17th-19th c.]
  4. (obsolete) The feeling caused by being surprised; surprise, shock, amazement. [17th-19th c.]
  5. An information measure (defined by Myron Tribus in 1961 book Thermostatics and Thermodynamics) as equal in bits to the base-2 log of 1 over the probability, with the result that the number of choices equals 2 to the number of bits.

See alsoEdit