- The definition of a startle is a quick scare or surprise.
An example of a startle is a person jumping out from behind a bush and shouting when his friend wasn't expecting it.
- Startle is defined as to scare or surprise someone or to be scared or surprised.
An example of to startle is to sneak up behind a friend and yell "Boo!"
Origin: Middle English stertlen, to rush, stumble along, frequentative of sterten: see start
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb star·tled, star·tling, star·tles verb, transitive
- To cause to make a quick involuntary movement or start.
- To alarm, frighten, or surprise suddenly. See Synonyms at frighten.
Origin: Middle English stertlen, to run about, from Old English steartlian, to kick; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots.
- starˈtling·ly adverb
- starˈtling·ness noun