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The shocking instance of learning the unpleasant or unwelcome truth about a situation. We had a rude awakening when the waiter brought us the bill and we saw how much we had spent on dinner and drinks.
a rude awakening
COMMON If you have had a rude awakening, you have been forced to realize the unpleasant truth about something. Such details as have emerged about the new economic package suggest that these citizens are indeed in for a rude awakening. Johnson was confident he could make a quick profit. But, instead of quick profits, he got a rude awakening.
a rude awakeninga sudden realization of the true (bad) state of affairs, having previously been under the illusion that everything was satisfactory.
2004 The New Farm It must have been a rude awakening for the world powers when upstart Third-World countries began to flex their collective muscle.