Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

surprise - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun surprise pronunciation in American English /sərˈpraɪz/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable] an unusual or unexpected event
    There were few surprises in the basketball playoffs this year.
    come as a surprise: Holman’s arrest came as a surprise to the entire community.
    come as no surprise: Given the dismal sales performance, the change of management came as no surprise.
    surprises in store (=unexpected things that will happen in the future): Let’s hope there are no more unpleasant surprises in store for us.
    be in for a surprise: The Angels could be in for a surprise if they expect an easy victory.
    1. a.
      news or information that seems unusual or unexpected
      I never knew Sheila had been married – that was a real surprise.
    2. b.
      [only before noun] happening unexpectedly
      Henderson led the team to a surprise win in the final.
      They keep the room ready for surprise visitors.
  2. 2
    [countable] a present that you are not expecting to receive
    I got you a little surprise for your birthday.
  3. 3
    [uncountable] the feeling you have when something unusual or unexpected happens
    Many students expressed surprise at the news.
    (much) to someone’s surprise: Much to my surprise, the restaurant was actually very nice.




a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog